Skip to main content

Full text of "Lord Clive, the foundation of British rule in India"

See other formats





Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 


Edited by H. F. WILSON, M.A. 


Late Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge 

Legal Assistant at the Colonial Office 



i. SIR WALTER RALEGH ; the British Dominion of 
the West. By Martin A. S. Hume. 

2. SIR THOMAS MAITLAND ; the Mastery of the 

Mediterranean. By Walter Frewen Lord. 

3. JOHN AND SEBASTIAN CABOT ; the Discovery of 

North America. By C. RAYMOND Beazley, M.A. 


zation of South Australia and New Zealand. By 
R. Garnett, C.B., LL.D. 

5. LORD CLIVE; the Foundation of British Rule in 

India. BySir A. J. Arbuthnot, K.C.S.I. CLE. 

6. RAJAH BROOKE ; the Englishman as Ruler of an 

Eastern State. By Sir Spenser St John, G. C. M.G. 

7. ADMIRAL PHILLIP; the Founding of New South 

Wales. By Louis Becke and Walter Jeffery. 

8. SIR STAMFORD RAFFLES ; England in the Far 

East. By the Editor. 

Greater Britain 






K.C.S.r. and CLE. 
Lately a Member of the Council of India 








Copyright by T. Fisher Unwin, 1897, for Great Britain and 
the United States of America 


If Sir Walter Ralegh, as Mr Martin Hume 
described him in the volume with which the 
present series began, was the man who laid 
the foundation stone of the Colonial Empire 
of Great Britain, Clive may be called with 
not less truth, in the words of Sir Alfred 
Lyall, * the man to whom above all others 
the English are indebted for the foundation 
of our Empire in India.' 

There have been few men who have so 
rapidly established such a reputation as was 
achieved by Clive very shortly after he had 
reached his twenty-sixth year. The son of a 
small and impoverished country squire, belong- 
ing to a family which, although old, had never 
previously been distinguished, Robert Clive in 
a remarkably short time won for it a name 
second to none in the history of the world. 

It is the object of this brief memoir to show 
how this came about, to describe the salient 
points in Give's career, and to explain how 
entirely it was owing to Clive that the place 


now filled by the British Raj in India was not 
occupied in the middle of the last century by 
the French. 

Landing in India in September 1744, Clive 
in little more than five years, by his remark- 
able defence of Arcot, had proved himself an 
able soldier, and in less than a year and a half 
later was able to return to England recognised 
by his immediate masters, the Directors of the 
East India Company, as the one man in their 
service most fitted to be entrusted with high 
military command. In a very few years more 
it was felt, not only in India and by persons 
interested in and acquainted with Indian affairs, 
but by English statesmen as well, by such men 
as the elder Pitt, by George Grenville and 
others, that the talents of the young soldier 
were by no means confined to the camp, but 
that he was as able in council as he was skilful 
in strategy and daring in fight. 

And when we reflect upon his death at the 
early age of forty-nine, after a persecution 
which, whatever may have been his errors, it 
is difficult to read of without shame, we can 
hardly avoid the conclusion that of the many 
sad and discreditable incidents which, in this 


and other countries, disfigured the latter part 
of the eighteenth century, one of the not least 
deplorable was the attack made by his country- 
men upon the founder of our Indian Empire. 

Regarding Give's career, opinions of the 
most diverse kinds have been and still are 
entertained. According to James Mill, the 
leading historian of British India, Clive was 
artful, tricky and exceedingly quarrelsome — 
an opinion which is not, however, shared by 
Mill's annotator, Horace Hayman Wilson. 
And strange to say, when dealing with the 
Parliamentary proceedings against Clive, Mill 
denounces them in language which might have 
been used by dive's warmest supporters. 

Marshman, an essentially fair writer, bears a 
high tribute to dive's lofty genius, and de- 
nounces the ingratitude which embittered the 
closing years of his life. 

dive's first biographer, Caraccioli, appears to 
have written for the sole purpose of attacking 
him both in his public and in his private life. 

Sir John Malcolm, on the other hand, defends 
almost every incident of his career, including 
the fictitious treaty with Omichand. 

Of the two more recent memoirs, that by the 


late Colonel Malleson, while doing ample justice 
to dive's genius and services, dwells unduly, 
as I think, upon what he describes as dive's 
baser nature, and upon the defects of his early 
training and the disastrous influence on his 
subsequent career, of his idleness and wildness 
as a schoolboy. That Clive as a schoolboy 
was idle and somewhat wild may be freely 
admitted, but it must not be forgotten that 
one of his masters predicted with remarkable 
foresight that he would rise to eminence, and 
that the use which he made of the Governor's 
library at Madras is hardly consistent with the 
theory that when he attained to manhood his 
mind was in the absolutely uncultured condi- 
tion which Colonel Malleson attributed to him. 
The adjective * base ' is the last that should be 
used in reference to Clive. He was doubtless 
at times unscrupulous, but what he did he never 
attempted to conceal, nor was there anything 
in his conduct or his character to which the 
term ' base ' could fitly be applied. I believe 
that most students of Clive's life would greatly 
prefer the opinion of Sir Charles Wilson, who, 
writing eight years later than Colonel Malleson, 
ends a memoir, of which the interest is only 


equalled by the care and accuracy which have 
been brought to bear upon it, by affirming 
that ' among the many illustrious men whom 
India has produced, none is greater than the 
first of her soldier-statesmen, whose successful 
career marks an era in the history of England 
and of the world.' 

There is one question in connection with this 
biography which perhaps may not unreasonably 
be asked. While so many Lives of Clive have 
been published, the last only eight years ago, 
what is the need of another? It certainly 
cannot be said that any new facts have been 
discovered which would justify the publication 
of another Life of Clive. The answer is, and 
I think it is a sufficient answer, that a series 
which deals with the Builders of Greater Britain 
would be obviously incomplete if it did not 
include a memoir of the man who gave to 
England her greatest dependency. 

It should be mentioned that at some points 
the present memoir closely follows the com- 
paratively brief article on Clive which I con- 
tributed eleven years ago to the Dictionary 
of National Biography , although a very large 
portion of it consists of entirely new matter. 


The two principal speeches made by Clive 
during the Parliamentary enquiry, which are 
no longer available in a form accessible to the 
public, have been reprinted in this volume. 

The best acknowledgments of the Editor 
and myself are due to the Earl of Powis for his 
permission to reproduce the portrait of Lord 
Clive at Powis Castle as a frontispiece, to Mr 
Lionel Cust, Director of the National Portrait 
Gallery, for his advice in connection there- 
with, and to Mr A. Story-Maskelyne of the 
Public Record Office, for assistance kindly 
rendered with regard to the two pedigrees 
which form Appendices IV. and V., and have 
been carefully compiled from printed sources. 
In preparing the maps, which are founded 
upon two of those by Juland Danvers, 
appended to Vol. VI. of Thornton's History 
of the British Empire in India, valuable help 
has been given by Mr Thomas, Assistant 
Librarian, and Mr Foster of the Registry and 
Record Department, at the India Office. 


Newtown House, 
Newbury, October 1898. 



Early Youth — Appointment to a Writership in India — 
Arrival at Madras — Distastefulness of His Work — 
Outbreak of War — Capture of Madras by the French 
— Escape of Clive to Fort St David — Clive's Duels — 
Temporary Commission as Ensign — Attracts the Notice 
of Stringer Lawrence, ..... 


Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle — Attitude of the English and 
French in India towards the Native Rulers — The 
Affair of Devikota — Clive's Narrow Escape — He is 
Permanently Transferred to the Military Service — 
Conflict between English and French brought about 
by the Ambition of Dupleix — Battle of Ambur — 
Clive's Proposal to Seize Arcot, . 


Clive's March to Arcot — Occupies the Fort — Another 
Narrow Escape — Gallant Defence — Effect of His 
Defence upon the Native Mind — Battle of Kaveripak, 




Condition of Trichinopoly — Return of Lawrence, who 
Assumes the Command— Clive sent to Samiavaram in 
Command of a Detachment — Clive's Strategy Success- 
ful — He has more than One Hairbreadth Escape — 
Surrender of Law's and D'Auteuil's Forces — Clive at 
Covelong and Chingleput — Clive's Marriage, . -31 


Clive returns to England— His Reception— Seeks but Fails 
to Enter Parliament— Applies for Re-employment in 
India — Appointed Governor of Fort St David — Reaches 
Bombay in October 1755 — Expedition to Gheriah — 
Clive Assumes His Government — Disputes between 
Naval and Military Officers, . 


Clive Returns to Madras at a Critical Time — Tragedy 
of the Black Hole — Clive and Watson ordered to 
Bengal — Delay in Despatching the Expedition — Its 
Arrival in the Hughli — Capture of Budge Budge — 
Surrender of Calcutta — Watson's Perverse Obstinacy 
— Presidential Jealousies — Capture of Hughli — Battle 
on 5TH February near Calcutta — Treaty with the 




Arrival of British Reinforcements— Capture of Chanderna- 
gore— Reasons for Clive remaining in Bengal — Plot 


Treaty with Omichand— A Real Treaty and a Sham 
Treaty — Provisions of the Rkal Treaty — Watson's 
Attitude in the Matter, . . . .62 




Terms of the Treaties — Advance towards Plassey — Clive's 
Letter to the Nawab — His Anxious Position — 
Arrival at Katvva — Council of War — Clive Votes 
for Delay — His Change of Mind — Arrival at Plassey 
— Clive's Description of the Battle — Fate of Suraj 
ud Daulah — Sequel of the Story of Omichand, . . 73 


The Distribution of the Spoil — Clive's Correspondence 
with the Military Officers — His Letters to the 
Committee at Calcutta — Death of Watson — State 
of the Civil Service — Difficulties of Mir Jafar — 
Slight put upon Clive by Court of Directors — His 
Subsequent Appointment as Governor of Bengal — 
The Rotation Plan — Threatened Invasion of Bengal 

BY THE SHAHZADA ClIVe's jAGfR, . . . 90 


The Northern Sirkars — Colonel Forde appointed to 
Command Expedition against Masulipatam — The 
Assault Successful — War with the Dutch — Clive's 
Characteristic Letter — Clive's Failure to Secure the 
Appointment of Forde to Command the Bengal Army 
— Remarks on Decorations, .... 102 


Events in Madras — Clive's Unfavourable Opinion of the 
Court of Directors — His Letter to the Elder Pitt 
Advocating Transfer of the Government of India to 
the Crown — His Letter to the Court — He Returns 
to England, . . . . . .113 




Clive's Arrival in England — His Cordial Reception — 
Hostility of Sullivan — Clive attaches Himself to 
George Grenville — Threat to Deprive Him of His 
Jagir — The Deposition of Mir Jafar — Succession of 
Kasim Ali Khan — Rapacity of the Council — War 
with Kasim Ali — M{r Jafar replaced on the Throne 
— Invasion of Bengal by Nawab of Oudh — Battle of 
Buxar — Disorganised State of Bengal — Macaulay's 
Description of It — Remarks of the Court of Directors 
— Sir John Malcolm's Opinion — Clive Urged to Resume 
Government of Bengal, . . . . .124 


Clive Returns to India for the Last Time — Death of MfR 
Jafar — Succession of Nazim ud Daulah — Appointment 
of Select Committee — Suspension of Certain Members 
of the Council — Incompetency of the New Nawab — 
Transfer of the Diwani to the Company, 145 


Official Salaries and Private Trade — Lord Cornwallis's 
Views — Discontent in the Civil Service — Mutiny in 
the Army — Double Batta — Conduct of Sir Robert 
Fletcher — Suppression of the Mutiny — Court of Direc- 
tors on Clive's Last Administration — Clive's State of 
Health — He takes Leave of His Colleagues, . . 161 


Clive Leaves India for the Last Time — His Reception 
by the Court of Directors — The Question of His 
jAGfR — Abandonment of the Proceedings against the 
Dismissed Members of the Bengal Council — The Sub- 
ordination of the Military to the Civil Power — 



Unsatisfactory Condition of Bengal — Appointment of 
Commission of Supervisors, who Perished at Sea — 
Famine of 1770 — Cartier succeeds Verelst, and is 
succeeded by Warren Hastings — Clive's Letter to 
Hastings, . . . . . . .177 


Attacks upon Clive in the Press — Proceedings in the House 
of Commons — Practical Acouittal of Clive — The Com- 
mittee of Secrecy and its Results — The Regulating 
Act of 1773 — The Strain upon Clive — His Death, . 197 


Remarkable Points in the Career of Clive — Clive's 
Character — Inconsistencies in It — Mountstuart El- 
phinstone's Estimate of Clive — Public Ingratitude 
Evinced towards Clive and His Three Greatest 
Successors, . . . . . . .221 


Appendix I. — Lord Olive's Speech in the House of Commons 

(30TH March 1772), . . . . .231 

Appendix II. — Lord Clive's Speech in the House of Commons 

(19TH May 1773), ...... 287 

Appendix III. — Mr Elphinstone's Estimate of Lord Clive . 297 

Appendix IV. — Pedigree of Lord Clive, . . . 303 

Appendix V. — Pedigree of Lady Clive, . . . 304 


Lord Clive, after the Portrait by Nathaniel Dance, 

at Powis Castle, ..... Frontispiece 

Map of India in 1744, shewing Extent of British 

Occupation at that Date, . . . to face page 12 

Map of India in 1767, shewing British Acquisitions 

at that Date .... . to face page 17 4 


Page 78, line 8, delete 'of Oude.' 
» io 3» » \,fir 'Ganjam Vizagaputam,' /W Ganjam, 

» J 37» » 9? delete 'again.' 

„ 141, „ 12,/^r 'Mahommadan,' read ' Muhammadan.' 
„ 248, „ 1, for 'Sujah ul Daulah,' read ' Sujah ud 


Lord Clive 










Robert Clive was born at Styche, in the parish 
of Moreton Say, near Market Drayton, in Shrop- 
shire, on the 25th September 1725. He was the 
eldest son of Richard Clive, the owner of Styche, a 
small estate which the Clive family had possessed 
ever since the reign of Henry VII. 1 The family was 
by no means wealthy, and the father of the subject 
of this memoir was obliged to supplement his in- 
come by practising as a solicitor. Robert Clive's 
mother was a daughter of Mr Nathaniel Gaskell, 

1 See Pedigree in Appendix IV. 


of Manchester, and one of her sisters was the wife 
of Mr Daniel Bayley, of Hope Hall, Manchester, 
at whose house Robert Clive spent several years 
of his childhood. From a letter written by him 
after his arrival in India, Clive would seem to 
have cherished very pleasant recollections of this 
Manchester home, which he described as ' the 
centre of all his wishes,' and as 'a place which, if 
he should be so blessed as to revisit it, all that he 
could hope or desire would be presented before him 
in one view.' 

At a very early age he gave evidence of that 
energy of disposition, combined with a certain 
amount of combativeness, which distinguished him 
in after life. Before he had completed his seventh 
year, Mr Bayley, in a letter to his father, described 
him as 'out of measure addicted to fighting. ' In 
his school days he was fonder of out-of-door pur- 
suits than of study, although his studies cannot 
have been entirely neglected, for one of his school- 
masters, who kept a school at Lostock, in Cheshire, 
predicted a brilliant career for him, observing that 
c if opportunity enabled him to exert his talents, 
few names would be greater than his.' And later 
on, after his arrival in India, he appears to have 
devoted himself with some assiduity to repairing 
the imperfections of his early training, by studying 
the books which he was allowed to make use of 
in the Governor's library in Madras. Still his 


school life was not a studious one, and was more 
remarkable for feats of courage than for success 
in book learning. It must also have been more or 
less interrupted by his frequent transfers from one 
school to another. Beginning his education at 
Lostock, he was removed at the age of eleven to a 
school at Market Drayton, not far from his father's 
home. Thence at the age of twelve he was sent 
on to Merchant Taylors' in London, and was finally 
transferred to a private school at Hemel Hempstead, 
where he remained until he was appointed in 1743, 
at the age of eighteen, to a writership in the service 
of the East India Company at Madras. It is related 
of him that on one occasion, when at Market Dray- 
ton, he climbed the lofty steeple of the church, 
and terrified the bystanders by seating himself upon 
a stone spout in the form of a dragon's head which 
projected from it near the top. About the same 
time he appears to have been the leader of his 
schoolfellows in boyish pranks, levying from the 
shopkeepers in the town a species of blackmail, in 
the form of coppers or apples, to induce him and 
his companions to abstain from breaking their 
windows and from other mischievous tricks. A 
story is told of his having lain down in a gutter 
while his companions were repairing a dam, which 
he and they had made for the purpose of flooding 
a small shop occupied by an unfriendly tradesman. 
Whether similar practices were carried on by him 


at his other schools does not appear, but there can 
be no doubt that, both as a boy and in early man- 
hood, he was impatient of control, though not 
vicious, and by no means destitute of affection for 
his family and friends. 

Clive left England in the summer of 1743, and 
did not reach Madras until late in 1744, after an 
unusually protracted voyage, in the course of which 
he was detained for nine months at Rio de Janeiro. 
This detention led to his acquiring some slight 
knowledge of the Portuguese language, which is 
said to have been of use to him in after years in 
India. It would seem, however, that he was not 
an adept at learning foreign languages ; for not- 
withstanding the great insight which he acquired 
into the character of the natives of India, he does 
not appear to have attained to any proficiency in 
the native languages. The unforeseen expenses in 
which he became involved owing to his enforced 
stay in Brazil led to his arriving at Madras in debt 
to the captain of the ship, who charged him a 
usurious rate of interest. Altogether, his earlier 
experiences were by no means satisfactory. He 
had taken out with him only one letter of intro- 
duction, and the gentleman to whom it was 
addressed had left India before he arrived. He 
appears to have been constitutionally shy with 
strangers, and consequently made no efforts to form 
new acquaintances. Nor was his work in any way 


congenial to his natural tastes. The duties attached 
in those days to a writership in the East India 
Company's service were very different from those 
which devolve upon the covenanted Civil Servants 
of the present day. The writer at that time was 
merely the servant of a trading company ; his duties 
were those of a clerk in a mercantile house. They 
were extremely uncongenial to a youth of Clive's 
temperament, nor was it without difficulty that he 
brought himself to submit to the orders of his 
official superiors. More than once he incurred 
censure for insubordination. In connection with this 
point a characteristic story is told of him. He 
was censured by the Governor for insolence to 
a superior officer, and was ordered to make an 
apology to the offended official. This he did ; 
but when the same officer invited him to dinner, 
Clive stiffly declined, observing that the Governor 
had ordered him to apologise to, but not to dine 
with him. His distaste for his work and surround- 
ings was at this time such that on one occasion 
he made an attempt upon his life, firing a pistol 
at his head, which, however, missed fire twice. A 
friend entering his room shortly afterwards, Clive 
asked him to try the pistol, when the other suc- 
ceeded in firing it. Thereupon Clive said, ' Surely 
I must be reserved for something great, for I 
have twice fired that pistol at my head, and it 
would not go off.' 


But Clive was not destined for prolonged employ- 
ment at the desk. In the very year in which he 
arrived at Madras, war was declared between England 
and France. The French at that time possessed 
more troops in India than the English, and were 
the first, under Dupleix, the then Governor of 
Pondicherry, to recruit natives of India for mili- 
tary employment. But when war was declared in 
Europe, Dupleix did not feel prepared for the struggle 
in India, and endeavoured to induce the English 
Governor of Madras to agree to neutralise the 
Indian possessions of the two nations. This proposal 
the Governor was precluded from accepting by his 
instructions from home, and in 1746 Dupleix, taking 
advantage of the absence of the British fleet from 
the coast, ordered the French Admiral Labourdonnais, 
who had arrived from Mauritius with a squadron 
fitted out for the purpose, to attack Madras. The 
town, which had no garrison worth the name, 
surrendered on the 10th September 1746. The 
English functionaries were all admitted to parole, 
and the French Admiral entered into a private agree- 
ment with the Governor for the restoration of the 
place upon payment of a reasonable ransom. This 
agreement, however, was disallowed by Dupleix, and 
the English Governor and principal officials were 
removed to Pondicherry, and marched through the 
town as prisoners of war. Clive, deeming that this 
infraction of the terms upon which his parole had 


been given released him from his obligations, in 
company with his friend Edmund Maskelyne escaped 
in the disguise of a native to Fort St David, the 
second English settlement on the coast, a few miles 
south of Pondicherry. There he appears to have 
passed some two years, nominally employed as a 
writer, but during a part of the time at all events 
taking his share with the garrison in repelling attacks 
made upon the fort by the French. During this 
time, having very little to do in the way of official 
duty, he spent a good deal of his leisure at cards, and 
while so occupied became involved in a duel with a 
military officer whom he accused of cheating. The 
incident, as related in Malcolm's Life, is characteristic. 
Clive, having fired at, and missed, his antagonist, the 
latter came close up to him, and holding his pistol to 
his head, desired him to ask for his life, which Clive 
did. His opponent then called upon him to retract 
his assertions regarding unfair play, and on his refusal, 
threatened to shoot him. ' Fire and be d — d,' was 
Clive's reply. ' I said you cheated, and I say so still, 
and I will never pay you.' Clive was much com- 
plimented upon the spirit he had shown, but declined 
to come forward against the officer with whom he 
had fought, and never afterwards willingly alluded to 
the behaviour of the latter at the card table. c He 
has given me my life,' he said, c and though I am 
resolved on never paying money which was unfairly 
won, or again associating with him, I shall never do 


him an injury.' This incident forms the subject of 
Browning's poem c Clive ' {Dramatic Idylls^ Second 
Series, 1880), in which, however, the facts of the 
case are stated somewhat differently, the poet omitting 
all mention of the demand that Clive should beg for 
his life and his compliance with it, and describing 
the officer as having, under the spell of Clive's 
undaunted courage, acknowledged the truth of the 

Later on, in 1748, when the English besieged 
Pondicherry, after having been reinforced by a 
squadron under Admiral Boscawen, a somewhat 
similar incident occurred. Clive, having been granted 
a temporary commission as ensign, served with the 
force, and on several occasions distinguished himself 
greatly by his bravery. On one of these, having left 
his post for some minutes to bring up some ammuni- 
tion, he became involved in an altercation with 
another officer, who made a remark implying that 
it was fear, and not zeal, which had induced him 
to leave his post. In the course of the altercation 
the officer struck Clive ; but a duel was prevented, 
and a court-martial held, which resulted in Clive's 
assailant being required to ask his pardon in front 
of the battalion to which they both belonged. The 
court, however, having taken no notice of the blow, 
Clive, after the siege had been raised, insisted upon 
satisfaction for that insult, and on its being refused, 
waved his cane over the head of the offender, telling 


him he was too contemptible a coward to be beaten. 
The affair ended in the person who had defamed Clive 
resigning his commission on the following day. 

The biographers and historians who have dealt 
with this portion of Clive's career differ considerably 
in their estimate of his conduct on these occasions. 
Mill, in his History of India, characterises Clive as 
having been turbulent with his equals. Mr Gleig 
blames his conduct in both these cases, alleging in 
regard to his duel with the gambler that there was 
nothing to admire about it except the headstrong 
determination of the man who would rather submit to 
be put to death than retract a word which he had 
once uttered ; and with respect to the other case, 
that there was no need, after the humiliation which 
the other party had undergone, to force a dormant 
quarrel upon him. Sir John Malcolm, on the other 
hand, taking what seems to be a more just view of 
the facts, and of the manners and customs of the time, 
denies that any of these early disputes can be traced 
to a perverse or quarrelsome temper. c Clive appears 
in all to have been the party offended — the resolute 
manner in which he resented the injuries done to him 
raised his reputation for courage, and protected him 
from further insult and outrage.' 

The siege of Pondicherry proved to be a failure, 
and Clive was again employed upon civil duties. 
During the operations, however, he distinguished 
himself more than once by his gallantry and by his 


judgment, and it was there that he attracted the 
notice of Major Stringer Lawrence, who, having 
been recently appointed to the command of the 
Company's forces, conducted the earlier stages of 
the siege, in the course of which he was unfortun- 
ately taken prisoner. 








In 1748 the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, which provided 
for the restoration of Madras to the English, put a 
stop for a time to further hostilities between the 
English and French in India. A few months later, 
however, circumstances occurred which induced 
Clive again to enter military employment. Before 
narrating these events, it may be well to say a few 
words as to what was at that time the position of 


the English and French in India in relation to the 
native sovereigns. These rulers were headed by the 
Emperor of Delhi, commonly known as the Great 
Moghul, but more correctly designated as the 
Padishah, who was nominally the supreme over- 
lord of the countries then called India, but whose 
real power was extremely limited. When Clive 
arrived at Madras in 1744, only five years had 
elapsed since the sack of Delhi by Nadir Shah. 
The Moghul authority had then received its death- 
blow. In South India it was extinct in the prin- 
cipalities of Tanjore, Madura and Mysore, which 
were held by rulers of the Mahratta race. The 
Nizam of Hyderabad, or Subahdar of the Dekhan, 
was the ruler of the provinces now under the 
Nizam, with an authority shared by the Mahrattas, 
who were then the most powerful race in India. 
This chief was nominally, but not always in reality, 
the superior of the Nawab of the Carnatic. It was 
as the tenants of the latter ruler that the English and 
French held their respective positions at Madras and 
Fort St David in the one case, and at Pondicherry in 
the other. Those possessions were very small, occupy- 
ing in each case only a few square miles ; for both the 
English and the French had gone to India not for 
the purpose of acquiring territory, but for the purpose 
of carrying on trade. 

The immediate cause which led Clive to serve 
again in a military capacity was an invitation 

English Miles 

ioo 200 li 10 41 

Showing British Possessions at that date 


addressed to the English authorities at Fort St 
David by Sahuji, a member of the reigning family 
in the Mahratta principality of Tanjore, to aid him 
in recovering the throne of which he had been dis- 
possessed, the invitation being accompanied by an 
offer to cede to the Company the town and fort of 
Devikota, near the mouth of the Kolriin river. 
The English had previously supported Pertab Singh, 
the actual occupant of the throne, but tempted by 
the offer of the cession of Devikota, which, being 
near the mouth of an important river, they deemed 
to be in a very advantageous position for trade, they 
complied with Sahuji's request, and sent a small force 
to his aid under the command of Captain Cope, with 
which Clive volunteered to serve. The expedition 
failed, chiefly on account of a severe storm which dis- 
persed the ships carrying the baggage and the heavy 
guns. Another expedition, under the command of 
Major Stringer Lawrence, with which Clive also 
served with the rank of lieutenant, was more suc- 
cessful. On this occasion Clive volunteered for 
the command of a storming party told off to storm 
an embankment which had been thrown up to 
defend a breach made in the walls of the fort. He 
again behaved with his accustomed bravery, and had 
a very narrow escape ; for the Sepoys — 700 in number 
— having failed to advance, a small body of 33 British 
soldiers which accompanied Clive was suddenly 
attacked by the Tanjore horse, and almost wholly 


destroyed. The fortunes of the day were sub- 
sequently retrieved by Major Lawrence, who, 
advancing with the whole of his force, took the 
fort. Mill, in describing this incident, accuses Clive 
of rashness in allowing himself to be separated from 
the Sepoys. Orme's version of the affair gives a 
different aspect to it. He writes, 'About 50 yards 
in front of the entrenchment ran a deep and miry 
rivulet. . . . The Europeans, marching at the head 
of the Sepoys, crossed the rivulet with difficulty, and 
four of them were killed by the fire from the fort 
before they reached the opposite bank. As soon as 
the Sepoys had passed likewise, Lieutenant Clive 
advanced briskly with the Europeans, intending to 
attack the entrenchment in flank, at an end where 
the work had not been completed. The Sepoys who 
had crossed the rivulet, instead of following closely, as 
they had been ordered, remained at the bank waiting 
until they were joined by greater numbers.' If 
Orme's statement of the facts is correct, the charge 
of rashness would seem in this case to be unfounded. 
Incidents very similar have frequently occurred in 
war, and it is right to bear in mind that if Clive 
(and the same may be said of other commanders in 
more recent times) had not carried daring to the 
verge of rashness, the conquest of India might never 
have been achieved. The affair ended in the cession 
by the Raja of Tanjore to the East India Company of 
D£vikota, with as much land adjoining it as would 


yield an annual income of thirty-six thousand rupees. 
The Raja agreed to pay the expenses of the war, and to 
allow Sahuji an income of four thousand rupees a year, 
on condition that the English should be answerable 
for his person. The transaction was not very credit- 
able to the English name. They not only in the 
first instance threw over their ally, Pertab Singh, for 
the sake of the possession of Devikota, but when 
their arms prevailed and they made peace with the 
Raj£, they sacrificed Sahuji for whom they had 
fought, depriving him of his liberty, and assigning 
to him what to a man of his rank was a miserable 

Clive was not, however, concerned with these con- 
siderations. As a subaltern officer all he had to do was 
to obey orders, and to carry them out to the best 
of his capacity. At the close of this affair he was 
again relegated to civil duty, but such was the sense 
entertained of his services that he was appointed a 
commissary to the troops. Before he had long been 
employed upon his new work, he was attacked by a 
fever, accompanied by so much depression of spirits 
that the constant presence of an attendant became 
necessary, and he was ordered to take a sea trip 
during the cold weather of 1749-50 in the Bay of 
Bengal, which speedily restored him to health. His 
late commander, Lawrence, referring afterwards to 
Clive's conduct in the Devikota campaign, described 
it in the following terms, l His early genius surprised 


and engaged my attention as well before as at the 
siege of D6vikota, where he behaved in courage and 
judgment much beyond what could have been ex- 
pected from his years.' 

Two years later Clive was present, in a civil 
capacity, at what Sir John Malcolm calls the dis- 
graceful affair of Valkonda, where, owing to the 
irresolution of the English officers, a body of the 
Company's troops, sent to oppose a native chief, was 
compelled to retire and to seek shelter under the walls 
of Trichinopoly. But the young civilian speedily 
resumed military employment. Very shortly after 
the last affair he was sent with Mr Pigot, then a 
member of Council at Fort St David, in charge 
of some recruits and stores which were destined for 
Trichinopoly. The convoy consisted of 80 European 
soldiers and 300 Sepoys, and the orders were that 
the two English gentlemen should accompany it 
until it should be beyond the reach of attack. 
From Fort St David to Verdachalam, a distance of 
forty miles, the party traversed the territory of a 
petty chief who was hostile to the English. For 
the rest of the distance there was no cause for 
apprehension. The convoy reached Verdachalam 
unmolested, and thence Pigot and Clive returned 
with an escort of only twelve Sepoys. They were 
speedily attacked. Seven of the escort were killed. 
The rest, having expended their ammunition, were 
ordered to disperse, and the two English gentlemen, 


riding for their lives, reached Fort St David in 

Soon afterwards, Clive, having been per- 
manently transferred to the military service, was 
promoted to the rank of captain, and was sent for 
the third time to Trichinopoly in charge of another 
small reinforcement. He had, it would seem, on the 
occasion of one of his previous visits, come to the 
conclusion that the only feasible means of relieving 
the place, which was beleaguered by a large hostile 
force, was to create a diversion in another quarter, 
and that with this view an expedition should be sent 
to capture Arcot, the capital of the Carnatic. 
He had made a suggestion to that effect to Mr 
Saunders, the Governor of Fort St David, upon which 
Saunders, owing to the paucity of competent English 
officers, did not feel himself in a position to act. 
What Clive saw on this last visit confirmed him in 
his previous opinion. The garrison was utterly 
demoralised, and Muhammad Ali, whose cause the 
English had taken up, was in despair. Clive ac- 
cordingly determined to return to Fort St David, 
and to press his former suggestion upon Saunders. 
The latter, who, though not a man of marked 
ability, was a good judge of men, determined to 
follow Clive's advice, and to place him in com- 
mand of the expedition. 

The operations in which Clive was now engaged, 
unlike those which preceded the affair of Devikota, 



were not caused by hostilities between the English 
and French nations. In Europe the two countries 
were for the time at peace. In India the English 
and French trading companies became involved in 
wars which arose between native Indian rivals for 
power in the Dekhan and in the Carnatic. The 
conflict between the English and French was 
immediately brought about by the ambition of 
Dupleix ; but apart from this, the position of the 
two companies in relation to the native states was 
such that sooner or later the political ascendancy of 
one or the other must have become essential to 
their prosperity, if not to their continued existence. 
Dupleix was the first to recognise this important 
fact, as he had been the first to discern the expedi- 
ency of training the natives of India as soldiers, and 
employing them under European direction. He was 
not a soldier by profession, and he had not, like 
Clive, the military instinct, which in Clive's case 
made up for the want of a military training. But he 
was a man of insatiable ambition and of considerable 
intellectual capacity, and in his dealings with the natives 
of India he received valuable assistance from his wife, 
a French Creole, who knew the native languages and 
the native character. Indeed, if it had not been for 
Clive, it is more than probable that Dupleix would 
have succeeded in obtaining for the French the 
position in India to which the English eventually 
attained. The struggle arose in connection with 


rival claims to the posts of Subahdar, or Viceroy, of 
the Dekhan, and of Nawab of the Carnatic. The 
holders of the first of these posts, though nominally 
subordinate to the Emperor of Delhi, had long been 
practically independent. The Subahdars of the 
Dekhan were the real overlords of a great part of 
the South of India, receiving tribute from the Nawabs 
of the Carnatic. On the death in 1748 of Nizam 
ul Mulk, the last really powerful Subahdar of the 
Dekhan, at the great age of 104, the succession of 
his son, Nazir Jung, was disputed by Mirzapha Jung, 
one of his grandsons. Shortly afterwards a similar 
dispute arose regarding the Nawabship of the 
Carnatic, at that time held by Anwarud din Khan, 
whose claim was contested by Chanda Sahib, son-in- 
law of the former Nawab. Mirzapha Jung, having 
determined to enlist the aid of the Mahrattas in his 
cause, repaired to Sattara for the purpose of obtain- 
ing the support of Balaji Rao, the Mahratta chief. 
There he met Chanda Sahib, who was an extremely 
intelligent man, and greatly doubted the wisdom of 
calling in the Mahrattas. He persuaded Mirzapha 
Jung to enter into an alliance with the French, as 
being far safer than an alliance with the Mahrattas. 
The result was that Chanda Sahib, who at the time 
was a prisoner in the hands of the Mahrattas, was 
ransomed by Dupleix, and he and Mirzapha Jung 
joining forces, attacked the Nawab, Anwarud din 
\Chan, at Ambur on the 3d August 1749, and won 


a decisive victory. In this battle Dupleix furnished 
a contingent of 400 Frenchmen under the command 
of M. d'Auteuil. The latter had also 36,000 native 
troops under his command. Anwarud din Khan was 
killed in the fight. One of his sons, Maphuz Khan, 
was taken prisoner, and the other, Muhammad Ali, 
better known afterwards as the Nawab Wallajah, 
had to fly for his life. D'Auteuil having been 
wounded early in the battle, the command on the 
French side devolved upon M. de Bussy, who was 
serving as second in command, and was the ablest 
of the French generals. The army of Anwarud 
din Khan speedily dispersed, and Mirzapha Jung, 
repairing immediately to Arcot, proclaimed himself 
Subahdar of the Dekhan and Chanda Sahib Nawab 
of the Carnatic. 

These two personages next proceeded to Pondi- 
cherry, where Mirzapha Jung conferred upon 
Dupleix the sovereignty of eighty-one villages ad- 
joining the French territory. It had been arranged 
that Mirzapha Jung and Chanda Sahib should then 
move upon Trichinopoly, where Muhammad Ali had 
taken refuge, and had collected troops for its defence, 
but this movement was delayed owing to various 
causes, of which the principal was the presence of 
Admiral Boscawen's fleet off the coast. Another 
was the attraction of the wealth of Tanjore, 
which induced Chanda Sahib to delay his advance 
until reinforcements sent from Madras enabled 


Trichinopoly to hold out. Shortly after this Nazir 
Jung was murdered by one of his tributaries, and 
Mirzapha Jung met his death in a revolt of some 
of his Pathan soldiers when on his way to Hyder- 
abad with an escort of French troops under De 






The events briefly referred to in the preceding 
chapter occupied a period of two years ; for it was 
not until the 26th August 1751, the battle of Ambur 
having been fought on the 3d August 1749, that 
Clive found himself in a position to march upon 
Arcot. The force placed at his disposal numbered 
only 500 men, of whom only 200 were English. 
He had with him three field pieces of artillery. 
Of the English officers, eight in number, six had 
never been in action, and four were young men of 
the mercantile service, who, fired by the example of 
Clive, had volunteered to join the expedition. The 
miniature army started from Madras, from which place 
Arcot is seventy miles distant. The distance was 
traversed in less than six days, including a short halt 
at Conjeveram. Clive, hearing at that place that 
the garrison in the fort of Arcot was 1100 strong, 


despatched thence a message to Madras requesting 
that two more guns might be sent after him. He 
and his men reached Arcot on the 31st August, 
making the last march in a violent thunderstorm, 
and arriving to find the fort evacuated by the enemy, 
who, it was said, were so much alarmed by the 
accounts they received of the unconcern with which 
Clive's force had pursued its march through the 
thunderstorm, that they fled in a panic. Clive 
occupied the fort without encountering any opposi- 
tion, and at once set to work to lay in provisions 
to enable him to undergo a siege. During the 
first week after his arrival he marched out twice with 
the greater part of his force to beat up the quarters 
of the fugitive garrison, which had taken up a position 
in the fort at Timari, some six miles from Arcot. 
Two encounters took place. In one of them the 
enemy, greatly outnumbering Clive's force, collected 
in the dry bed of a tank or lake, surrounded by a 
high embankment, from which Clive dislodged them 
by dividing his men, and bringing a concentric fire to 
bear upon his opponents from opposite ends of the 
tank. The enemy at once broke and fled ; but on 
Clive summoning the fort, the commandant, per- 
ceiving that he possessed no heavy guns, refused to 
surrender. Clive thereupon returned to Arcot to 
await the guns he had sent for, and he remained there 
for ten days engaged in strengthening the works. At 
the end of that time the enemy, augmented by rein- 


forcements from the neighbourhood to 3000 men, 
and encouraged by the cessation of Clive's sallies, 
took up a position about three miles from Arcot, 
where Clive surprised them by a night attack and 
put them to flight without the loss of a single man. 
A few days later, having detached a considerable part 
of his force to strengthen the detachment coming 
from Madras in charge of the guns for which he 
had applied, he was attacked by and repulsed a large 
body of the enemy. 

The occupation by the English of the fort of 
Arcot very speedily produced the effect which Clive 
had anticipated, in inducing Chanda Sahib to remove 
some of his troops from before Trichinopoly. On 
the 23d September 4000 of Chanda Sahib's men, 
reinforced by 150 French soldiers from Pondicherry, 
and by the troops already collected in the neighbour- 
hood of Arcot, the latter numbering 2000 men, and 
all under the command of Chanda Sahib's son, Raja 
Sahib, occupied the city of Arcot preparatory to laying 
siege to the fort. On the following day Clive made 
another sally in the hope of driving the enemy out 
of the city, or at all events of inflicting such loss 
upon him as would diminish his boldness in the 
prosecution of the siege. The first of these objects 
was not accomplished, and the sally was attended by 
the loss of fifteen of the small English force, Clive 
himself having one of those narrow escapes which 
were so numerous at this period of his career. The 


story of this escape is thus told by Orme, ' The 
garrison suffered this day the loss of fifteen Europeans, 
who were either killed on the spot or died afterwards 
of their wounds ; amongst them was Lieutenant 
Trenwith, who, perceiving a sepoy from a window 
taking aim at Captain Clive, pulled him on one side, 
upon which the sepoy, changing his aim, shot 
Lieutenant Trenwith through the body.' 

The fort was then completely invested, and under- 
went a siege which, lasting for fifty days, is justly 
regarded as one of the most memorable events in 
military history. ' The fort was more than a mile in 
circumference ; the walls in many places ruinous, the 
towers inconvenient and decayed, an deverything 
unfavourable to defence, yet Clive found the means 
of making an effectual resistance. When the enemy 
attempted to storm at two breaches, one of fifty, 
one of ninety feet, he repulsed them with but 80 
Europeans and 150 Sepoys fit for duty, so effectually 
did he avail himself of his resources, and to such a 
pitch of fortitude had he exalted the spirit of those 
under his command.' 1 The final assault was delivered 
on the 14th November and failed, and on the follow- 
ing morning it was found that the whole of the 
besieging army had disappeared from Arcot. Before 
the siege began Clive had lost four out of the eight 
officers who had accompanied him from Madras. 

1 Mill, History of British India, vol. iii., p. 84. 


One had been killed, two wounded, and one had 
returned to Madras. The stock of provisions had 
fallen very low some time before the siege was raised. 
When it became apparent that famine might compel 
the garrison to surrender, the Sepoys offered to give 
up the grain to the Europeans, contenting them- 
selves with the water in which the rice was boiled. 
'It is,' they said, 'sufficient for our support. The 
Europeans require the grain.' 

Clive was the life of the defence. It was almost 
a miracle that, exposing himself as he did, he escaped 
unhurt. The fort was surrounded by houses, from 
which the enemy, themselves in tolerable security, 
were able to fire into it. On three different occasions 
sergeants who accompanied Clive on his visits to the 
works were shot dead at his side. On the day of the 
final assault the stormers brought a raft into the ditch 
at a point which was not fordable, when Clive, who 
was directing the defence at that point, observing that 
the aim of the gunners who were firing upon the 
raft, was bad, took himself the management of one of 
the guns, and speedily cleared the raft. 

Raja Sahib had endeavoured, first by the offer of a 
bribe and then by threats, to induce Clive to yield up 
the fort ; but his offers and threats were alike met by 

The defence of Arcot produced an immense effect 
upon the minds of the natives of Southern India. 
They had hitherto entertained but little respect for 


the English, whom they ranked as very inferior to the 
French in military capacity, but from this time native 
opinion entirely changed, and the defence of Arcot 
may justly be regarded as not only the turning-point 
in Clive's career, but as ' the turning-point in the 
Eastern career of the English.' x 

The expected reinforcements from Madras reached 
Arcot the day after the siege was raised. About the 
same time Clive was joined by a body of Mahratta 
horsemen under Morari Rao, a freebooting chief, 
who had been. nominally in alliance with Muhammad 
AH, and to whom Clive had applied for aid. The 
Mahratta chief had held aloof at first, not choosing 
to commit himself until he saw which side was likely 
to prevail, but as the siege went on he seems to have 
been really impressed by the gallantry displayed by 
Clive and his little force, and a few days before the 
siege was raised he had made a demonstration which 
had decided Raja Sahib no longer to delay the final 

A few days afterwards, with untiring energy, Clive 
again took the field, accompanied by the reinforce- 
ments which, as above stated, had arrived from Madras. 
After taking the little fort at Timari, which had held 
out on the previous occasion, he determined to march 
upon Ami, a place about seventeen miles south of Arcot, 
towards which Raja Sahib, having been reinforced by 
some French and native troops from Pondicherry, 

1 Malleson, French in India, p. 290. 


was also moving. Clive's march was somewhat 
delayed by the sluggish proceedings of his Mahratta 
allies, who, until they found that the troops sent 
from Pondicherry had with them a considerable 
amount of treasure, showed no disposition to advance. 
When they did march, not more than three-fifths of 
their party accompanied Clive. Rajd Sahib's force 
was considerably superior in numbers to that under 
Clive. The former had with him 300 Frenchmen, 
2000 cavalry and 2,500 Sepoys, with 4 guns ; 
Clive's force consisting of 200 Europeans, 700 
Sepoys and 3 guns, with 600 Mahratta horse. The 
struggle was for a time severe, but was decided in 
Clive's favour by a strategic movement against a 
narrow causeway on which a considerable number 
of the enemy's force and his 4 guns were placed. 
The result was that Raja Sahib's force was dispersed 
with a loss of 50 Frenchmen and 150 Sepoys killed 
or wounded, while Clive lost 8 Sepoys and 50 
of the Mahratta horse. The victory showed that 
Clive could fight, not only behind walls, but in the 
open held, and as a consequence 600 trained Sepoys 
immediately afterwards took service with him, bring- 
ing their arms with them. Clive next marched upon 
and took the great pagoda at Conjeveram, which, 
during the siege of Arcot, had been seized by a 
French garrison. After this he proceeded to Madras, 
and thence to Fort St David, to report upon his 
campaign to the Government. 


Raja Sahib having meanwhile reassembled his 
army and commenced to ravage the Company's 
territory in the immediate vicinity of Madras, Clive 
was sent to Madras early in February, and on the 
22d of that month again took the field, marching 
first upon Vandalur. Raja Sahib had, however, broken 
up his camp there and gone on to Conjeveram, 
whence he was on his way to Arcot, when at a late 
hour of the day (the 23d February), coming suddenly 
upon Clive's force, he attacked it near the village 
of Kaveripak. The contest which ensued was severe 
and critical. The greater part of it was fought by 
moonlight, and the enemy's force was superior both 
in number and in guns. It also had a considerable num- 
ber of cavalry, whereas Clive had none. The victory 
was again won by the stategy of Clive, who, having 
ascertained that the enemy's guns were unprotected 
in their rear, sent a detachment to attack the battery 
from that quarter, whereupon they abandoned their guns 
and fled. Sixty French soldiers were taken prisoners. 
Nine guns and three mortars were captured. 1 
Advancing again to Arcot, Clive proceeded towards 
Vellore, and was planning the reduction of that place 
when he was recalled to Fort St David to command 
an expedition against Trichinopoly, which was 
still beleaguered by Chanda Sahib's troops. On his 

1 One of Clive's latest biographers pronounces the victory of Kaveripak 
to have done more to secure English predominance in Southern India 
than the defence of Arcot. — Footnote to Malleson's Life of Clive , p. n i. 


march back, discerning the importance of destroying 
as far as possible the prestige of the French, he razed 
to the ground a town which Dupleix had christened 
after himself, as Dupleix Fatihabad (anglic^ 'The 
scene of Dupleix's victory' ), and also a monument 
which Dupleix had erected in commemoration of 
French victories. 








The state of things at Trichinopoly was such as to 
demand the presence of energetic leaders on both sides. 
Notwithstanding the relief which had been afforded 
to the besieged by the withdrawal to Arcot of a 
large body from the besieging force, the position of 
the garrison was extremely unsatisfactory. Captain 
Cope, who had commanded in the fort, had been 
killed. Captain Gingen, who succeeded him, was a 
man of but small capacity, and very devoid of en- 
terprise. The English troops were depressed and 
starving. Muhammad Ali and the native contingent 
under him were again in the depths of despair. On 
the side of the besiegers the command was held by 

3 1 


Law, a man of considerable intellectual power, but 
lamentably wanting in decision. There can be no 
question that the Governor of Fort St David 
judged rightly when he decided to send Clive to 
the rescue of Trichinopoly. But Clive was not 
destined to hold the chief command on this occasion. 
Two days before the date fixed for the departure of 
the expedition, Major Lawrence, who had been 
absent in England, returned to Fort St David, and 
as the senior officer in the Presidency, claimed the 
command. Clive readily assented, ever mindful of the 
kindness he had received from Lawrence in the earlier 
part of his career, and accompanied the expedition in 
a subordinate capacity. At the outset, indeed, not- 
withstanding his recent very brilliant services, he was 
not even granted the position of second in command, 
until, on a suggestion made by him, Lawrence, 
after reaching Trichinopoly, placed him in command 
of a detachment sent to Samiavaram, a place to the 
north of Trichinopoly, to intercept any supplies and 
reinforcements that might be sent to the besieging 
force from Pondicherry. The remonstrances of the 
senior captains with Lawrence's force against what 
they deemed to be their supersession by Clive in the 
command of this detachment were silenced by the 
refusal of the Mahratta horsemen, and of the other 
native troops detailed for the expedition, to serve 
under any other leader. Before, however, this move- 
ment was resolved on, Clive had rendered an important 


service to Lawrence on the day prior to the latter's 
march into Trichinopoly. Owing to the inactivity 
of Law, Lawrence had been able to effect a junction 
with certain reinforcements which had been sent to 
his aid, but was attacked by Law immediately after 
the reinforcements joined him. His troops were 
preparing their breakfasts after a long march when 
intelligence came of the approach of the enemy. 
Clive, being sent to reconnoitre, found in front of 
Law's force, and nearer to it than to the English, a 
caravansarai flanked by stone buildings, the possession 
of which he at once discerned to be of the utmost 
importance. He immediately galloped back, and 
obtaining Lawrence's permission to take a portion of 
the force to seize these buildings, the latter was 
enabled to drive back the enemy with but slight loss 
to his own force, but with heavy loss to the 

Law shortly after this withdrew his force into 
Shrirangham, an island situated between the two 
branches of the Kaveri river, and containing a 
famous pagoda of great strength. It was this move- 
ment on the part of Law that led Clive to advise 
the occupation of Samiavaram, which would enable 
Lawrence to invest from the north Law's position, 
already invested from the south, east and west. Clive, 
with his detachment, consisting of 400 Europeans, 700 
Sepoys, 3000 Mahratta cavalry and 8 guns, marched 
on the night of the 17th April, and at once pro- 



ceeded to strengthen the defences of the village. 
Meanwhile Dupleix, thoroughly disgusted with Law's 
inactivity, had determined to supersede him, and had 
sent M. d'Auteuil, the general who, with De Bussy 
as his second in command, had commanded at Ambur, 
to take his place. In the operations that followed, 
Clive's strategy proved thoroughly successful, and re- 
sulted in the course of a few weeks in the surrender 
of both Law and D'Auteuil in succession, and also 
in that of Chanda Sahib, who gave himself up to the 
Tanjore chief, and was brutally murdered by his orders. 
It has been held that Lawrence could, and ought to, 
have intervened to prevent this murder. 

In the course of these operations Clive had more 
than one hairbreadth escape. During a night attack 
by the French, who, aided by some English deserters, 
had managed by stratagem to secure an entrance into 
Clive's position, a choultry l in which Clive was sleep- 
ing was fired into, a box that lay under his feet was 
shattered by bullets, and a servant sleeping close to 
him was killed. In the fighting which followed, 
Clive was wounded, and a few hours later had the 
narrowest escape of being killed. The incident is 
thus related by Orme, <At daybreak the command- 
ing officer of the French, seeing the danger of his 
situation, made a sally at the head of his men, who 
received so heavy a fire that he himself, and twelve 
others who first came out of the gateway, were killed 

1 Choultry — a shelter for travellers, generally open on one side. 


by the volley, on which the rest ran back into the 
pagoda. Captain Clive then advanced into the porch 
of the gate to parley with the enemy, and, being 
weak with loss of blood and fatigue, stood with his 
back to the wall of the porch, and leaned, stooping 
forward, on the shoulders of two sergeants. An 
Irish officer in charge of the English deserters pre- 
sented himself with great insolence, and telling Clive 
with abusive language that he would shoot him, fired 
his musket. The ball missed Clive, but went through 
the bodies of both the sergeants on whom he was 
leaning, and they both fell, mortally wounded.' The 
French officer in command was so indignant at the 
conduct of the Irishman that he at once surrendered 
with his whole force. 

The surrender of Law's and D'Auteuil's forces put 
an end to the war for a time, and effectually pre- 
vented the capture of Trichinopoly, but was speedily 
followed by dissensions between the native chiefs, 
originating in the refusal of, Muhammad Ali to fulfil 
a promise which he had made to the Raja of Mysore 
to give up to him the town and fort of Trichinopoly 
— a refusal in which he was supported by the Raja 
of Mysore, and secretly by the Mahratta chief, Morari 
Rao. These dissensions, actively fomented by Dupleix, 
were followed by a renewal of hostilities, in the course 
of which an attack by the English upon the strong 
fort of Ginji, in the South Arcot district, ordered 
by the Governor of Madras in opposition to the 


advice of Lawrence, completely failed, and was 
followed by the advance of the French to the 
neighbourhood of Fort St David. On this occa- 
sion neither Lawrence nor Clive were present, both 
of them having been compelled to leave the army 
for a time, owing to illness brought on by the ex- 
posure they had undergone at the hottest season of 
the year. Lawrence, however, again took the field, 
and defeated the French, taking prisoner Dupleix's 
nephew, who was in command. 

Shortly after this, Clive was employed to reduce 
two forts to the south of Madras, both of them of 
considerable strength, one at Covelong (Covilam), on 
the coast, about twenty miles, and the other, Chingle- 
put (Chengalpatt), about thirty miles inland from 
Madras. Both these forts were held by the French, 
and, being in dangerous proximity to Madras, the 
Governor was anxious that they should be taken be- 
fore the arrival of French reinforcements which were 
expected at Pondicherry. The only troops available 
for this duty were 200 newly-arrived and untrained 
English recruits, and 500 Sepoys recently raised by 
Mr Saunders. The detachment was accompanied by 
four guns. On the morning after its arrival at Cove- 
long, an English officer was killed in the course of 
a sally made by the garrison, whereupon the detach- 
ment fled in confusion, and, according to Orme, 
would c have fled as far as Madras but that Clive, 
meeting them, forced them, sword in hand and not 


without violence, to return.' During the siege which 
followed, similar panics occurred on more than one 
occasion, but Clive's attitude in the end prevailed, 
not only against the cowardice of his own troops, 
but against the French commanders. With half his 
force he beat back a reinforcement that had been 
sent from Chingleput to force him to raise the siege 
of Covelong. Upon this the officer in command there 
capitulated. A similar result occurred at Chingleput. 
At each place, the French, who appear to have been 
wretchedly commanded, yielded to the energy of the 
English leader, after a siege of four days. 

Clive's health had not improved from the con- 
tinued exposure which attended the expedition, and 
after capturing Chingleput he again returned to 
Madras. Here, on the 18th February 1753, he 
married Miss Margaret Maskelyne, daughter of Mr 
Edmund Maskelyne, of Purton, Wilts, and sister of 
Mr Edmund Maskelyne, who had been Clive's 
companion in his escape from Madras in 1746. The 
various biographies of Clive contain but scanty in- 
formation regarding his wife, beyond the fact that 
she was a beautiful woman, possessing a great charm 
of manner. There is a tradition connected with the 
marriage that Clive, on one occasion, seeing in his 
friend Edmund Maskelyne's room a miniature of a 
lady, asked whose portrait it was, and on being told 
that it was the portrait of Mr Maskelyne's sister, at 
once requested him to invite his sister to come out to 


Madras in order that he might marry her. The story- 
is characteristic of Clive, and is probably true. How- 
ever this may be, the marriage proved a very happy 
one. Clive was devoted to his wife, who was much 
beloved by his family and by his friends. With her 
own family also she appears to have been a universal 
favourite. She was evidently a refined and well- 
educated woman. Her picture at Basset Down, the 
Wiltshire home of the present head of the Maskelyne 
family, her handwriting and her letters suggest these 
qualities. She was well born and well bred, that is 
to say, her father's people for many generations had 
been gentlemen of good estate in Wiltshire, in 
the Visitation of which county, in 1623, their 
pedigree 1 and arms are entered. Her mother repre- 
sented, on her father's side, a younger branch of the 
Booths of Dunham Massey, and on her mother's 
side, the family of Proger, otherwise Proger-Herbert, 
members of which had served about the person of 
Charles I. and of Charles II., and who claimed to be 
the elder line of all the Herberts. Letters written to 
them by the Stewarts are at Basset Down. Lady 
Clive's grandfather, Major Nevill Maskelyne, died in 
171 1. His wife had predeceased him, and a large 
family of young children were left orphans. Under a 
strict entail, executed in 1677 by Nevill Maskelyne, 
for many years M.P. for Cricklade, the whole of Major 
Nevill Maskelync's estate passed to his eldest son, and 

1 See Pedigree in Appendix V. 


there was but slender provision for the other children. 
William, the second son, was accordingly sent out to 
India, and is described in 1728 as of Fort Marl- 
borough, on the North Coast of Sumatra, a long since 
abandoned settlement of the East India Company. 
Two of his sisters married in India, while Edmund, the 
third son, Lady Clive's father, became a clerk to the 
Duke of Newcastle in the Secretary of State's office, 
Whitehall. His second boy, Edmund, by the in- 
fluence of the Duke, obtained a writership at Madras, 
from which town, as we have seen, after its capture 
by the French in 1746, he escaped in company with 
the subject of this Memoir. The other two sons 
became Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge, one 
of them, Nevil, 1 rising to the post of Astronomer 
Royal. With these brothers, and with the children 
of her aunts, Mrs Walsh and Mrs Kelsall, Lady Clive 
maintained the most affectionate intercourse. 

1 The name was so spelt by this member of the family. 








Clive and his bride sailed from Madras towards the 

end of February 1753, and landed in England in the 

course of that year. The fame of his exploits having 

preceded him, his reception in England was most 

gratifying. The Court of Directors treated him with 

special honour, toasting the young Captain at their 

banquets as 'General Clive,' and presenting him with 

a sword of honour set with diamonds of the value of 

five hundred pounds, c as a token of their esteem, and 

of their sense of his singular services to the Company 

on the coast of Coromandel.' Before accepting this 

sword, Clive, to his credit, stipulated that a similar 

honour should be conferred upon his late commander, 

Colonel Lawrence. Clive's stay in England was 



short. He had brought home with him what may be 
described as a moderately handsome fortune, derived 
partly from prize money, and largely, it may be 
assumed, from munificent presents made to him by 
the native chiefs whose interests he had served. The 
acceptance of such presents, however objectionable in 
principle, was only in conformity with the custom 
of the time, and cannot fairly be judged by the 
standard of official morality now recognised. The 
fortune he had acquired did not last long. The first 
use which Clive made of it was unexceptionable. 
He extricated his father from his pecuniary difficulties, 
and redeemed the family estate from a burden of debt 
by which it was encumbered. His other methods of 
spending his money were less praiseworthy. He was 
fond of display, and more or less intoxicated by the 
reception he met with in London society. He indulged 
in expenses beyond his means, and to crown all he 
embarked upon a contested election for the Parliament- 
ary borough of St Michael's in Cornwall, for which, 
with the aid of Lord Sandwich's interest and by a 
large expenditure of money, he was returned, but was 
subsequently unseated on petition. He had thrown in 
his lot with the more advanced section of the Whigs, 
under the leadership of Henry Fox. 

Having thus expended the greater part of his 
fortune, and being foiled in his wish to enter public 
life in England, Clive applied to the Court of 
Directors for re-employment in India. His applica- 


tion was promptly complied with, and he was appointed 
Governor of Fort St David, with the reversion of the 
Governorship of Madras on the first vacancy. The 
original intention was that, before proceeding to Fort 
St David, he should be employed in military opera- 
tions which it was proposed to carry on in the 
Delchan for the purpose of destroying French influence 
there, and so consolidating English influence in the 
Carnatic, then nominally a dependency of the 
Subahdai of the Delchan. With this view it was 
proposed to enlist on the English side the co-operation 
of the Peshwa, 1 and matters had gone so far that an 
agreement had been made with the Peshwa, under 
which English troops were to be sent to act as the 
auxiliaries of his Mahratta force, and a British officer, 
Colonel Scott, who had been recently sent out to 
India as Chief Engineer, had been nominated to the 
command. This arrangement had been rendered 
abortive by a treaty of neutrality in contests between 
the native chiefs, which had been entered into by M. 
Godehieu, Dupleix's successor in the government of 
Pondicherry, and Mr Saunders, the Governor of 
Madras. Of this treaty, however, the Court of 
Directors were not aware until after Clive had left 
England, and notwithstanding the previous appoint- 
ment of Colonel Scott, which had been pressed upon 
them by the Duke of Cumberland, so convinced were 
they of the superior fitness of Clive for the command of 

1 The head of the Mahratia confederacy. 


the proposed expedition, that they obtained for him a 
commission as Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Army, 
and directed him to go to Bombay so as to be at 
hand in the event of his services being required in 
the Dekhan. 

Clive, accompanied by his wife, left England early 
in 1755, and reached Bombay at the end of October, 
to find that Colonel Scott was dead, and that, in con- 
sequence of the treaty of neutrality already referred to, 
the expedition to the Dekhan was not to take place. 
The main motive, indeed, of the expedition had in a 
great degree ceased to exist. Dupleix, who in 1753 
and 1754 had succeeded to a considerable extent in 
re-establishing French influence in the Carnatic, had 
been recalled, and his successor, M. Godehieu, was a 
weak man, devoid of ambition and anxious only for 
peace. This anxiety was probably stimulated by the 
arrival at Fort St David of a British squadron under 
Admiral Watson, conveying the 39th Foot to India. 
On the other hand, the influence of the French under 
M. De Bussy was so strong in the districts north 
of Madras that the Governor of Madras had his own 
reasons for regarding with apprehension a renewal of 
the war. But although the convention prevented the 
expedition which Clive was intended to command, he 
was not destined to remain long without active em- 
ployment. The Bombay coast had for some years 
been subject to piratical raids, commenced two cen- 
turies before by the great Mahratta chief Sivaji, and 


continued in later years by Kanhaji Angria, the 
commander of the Mahratta fleet, and more recently 
by his son Tulaji Angria, who had the boldness to 
attack English, French and Dutch warships, and 
had seriously harassed the trade between Bombay and 
Europe. Angria possessed two forts, one called 
Gheriah, on the mainland, at the mouth of the river 
Kanvi, about a hundred and twenty miles south of 
Bombay, and the other on the Island of Suvarndrug, 
eighty miles north of Gheriah. Before Clive arrived, 
Commodore James, under the orders of the Bombay 
Government, had captured Suvarndrug. Some months 
later, and about the same time as Clive, Admiral 
Watson, with his squadron, reached Bombay from 
Madras, and it was then settled that a joint naval 
and military force, the latter under the command of 
Clive, who had brought with him from England 
three companies of Royal Artillery and 300 
infantry recruits, should be despatched to capture 
Gheriah. It had been arranged that on the land side 
a Mahratta force should co-operate with the English, 
but the Mahrattas proved faithless, and their com- 
mander, with whom Angria had taken refuge, extorted 
from him a promise to surrender the fort to him, and 
not to the English. Intelligence of this agreement 
having reached the English commanders, Clive 
immediately landed with his troops, and placed himself 
between the Mahrattas and the fort. The latter was 
bombarded by the ships, and capitulated on the 


second day, after which Clive and Watson pro- 
ceeded to Fort St David, where Clive took up his 

It should be mentioned here that before the ex- 
pedition sailed for Gheriah, a dispute arose between 
the naval and military officers on the subject of prize 
money, which foreshadowed disputes between the two 
services during the subsequent operations in Bengal. 
On this occasion the military officers urged that 
Clive's share of prize money should be equal to that 
of Admiral Pocock, Watson's second in command, 
while the naval officers contended that Clive, as a 
lieutenant-colonel, was only entitled to the same 
share as a post captain. Watson supported the 
opinion of his officers, but offered to pay the difference 
to Clive out of his own pocket, — an offer which Clive 
declined to accept. This dispute was, as we have 
said, the precursor of other differences between Watson 
and Clive during the military operations in which they 
were shortly afterwards engaged, which might have 
led to most disastrous results. 










Clive returned to the Madras Presidency at a 
critical moment. War with France was imminent, 
and broke out in the course of a few months. 
The very day that Clive assumed the government 
of Fort St David, Calcutta was captured by the 
Nawab of Bengal, and the tragedy of the Black 
Hole took place. The acquisition of Calcutta by 
the East India Company was somewhat later than 
that of Madras. It dates from 1686, when the 
representatives of the Company, driven by the 
Moghul authorities from Hughli, where they had 
established a factory, moved under the leadership 



of Job Charnock some twenty-six miles down the 
river to Satanati, now one of the northern suburbs 
of Calcutta. Ten years afterwards they built the 
original Fort William, and in 1700 they purchased 
the villages of Satanati, Kalikata and Govindpur 
from the son of the Emperor. In 1707 the East 
India Company declared Calcutta a separate pre- 
sidency. Here, surrounded by the richest districts 
in India, amidst a teeming population, on the 
banks of a river which was the chief highway of 
Eastern commerce, the servants of the Company 
drove a thriving trade, threatened only, but never 
actually assailed, by the raids of the Mahrattas, 
the memory of which is still kept alive by the 
famous Mahratta ditch. They were in the same 
relation to the Nawab of Bengal as the servants 
of the Company at Madras were to the Nawab of 
the Carnatic. In April 1756, Aliverdi Khan, who 
was a just and strong ruler, died, and was succeeded 
by his grandson, Suraj ud Daulah, a youth under 
twenty years of age, whose training had been of 
the worst description. One of the whims of this 
youth was hatred towards the English, and he 
had not been two months on the throne when 
he found a pretext for indulging this sentiment in 
the fact that the English, in anticipation of 
difficulties with the French, were strengthening 
the fortifications of Fort William. On the 4th 
Tune he seized the English factory at Kasimbazar, 


and on the 15th attacked Calcutta. The women 
and children in the fort were removed on board 
ship on the 18th, and on the same day the 
Governor, Mr Drake, and the military command- 
ant, Captain Minchin, deserted their posts, and to 
their lasting disgrace betook themselves to the ships. 
Mr Holwell, a member of the Council, assumed 
command in the fort, but on the 25th the place 
was taken. 

All the Englishmen in the fort, 146 persons, 
were thrust at the point of the sword into a 
small room, the prison of the garrison, commonly 
known as the Black Hole, only twenty feet 
square. The Nawab had promised to spare their 
lives, but had gone to sleep after a debauch. No 
expostulations on the part of the prisoners, not 
even bribes, would induce the guards to awake 
the Nawab and obtain his leave to liberate the 
prisoners, until the morning, when, having slept off 
his debauch, he allowed the door to be opened. 
By that time, out of 146 prisoners, 123 had miser- 
ably perished. The survivors, among whom was 
the acting Governor, Holwell, were brought 
before the tyrant, insulted and reproached by 
him, and detained in custody in wretched sheds 
and fed upon grain and water. An Englishwoman 
who was one of the survivors, was placed in 
the Nawab's harem. The details of this terrible 
tragedy and of the sufferings which the survivors 


subsequently underwent, are given in a letter * from 
Mr Holwell, from which it appears that his eventual 
release was brought about by the intercession of 
Aliverdi Khan's widow, who had in vain en- 
deavoured to dissuade the Nawab from attacking 
Calcutta, and had predicted that his doing so 
would be his ruin. Intelligence of the outrage 
did not reach Madras until the 16th August, when 
it was at once decided to send a force under Clive 
to Calcutta to avenge it. Clive was appointed 
Commander-in-Chief, with full military and political 
control. He took with him 900 English soldiers, 
and 1200 Sepoys and some artillery. Owing, how- 
ever, to the obstinacy of Watson, and to jealousy 
of Clive on the part of Colonel Aldercron, who 
had recently arrived at Madras in command of the 
39th Foot, a delay of two months took place 
before the expedition sailed. Watson declined to 
undertake it at all unless the government of the 
Bengal settlement, which the Madras Council 
proposed to assume pending orders from home, was 
entrusted to the survivors of the Bengal Council, 
the leaders of which had so shamefully deserted 
their posts ; while Aldercron, on being informed 
that Clive was to exercise the military command, 
actually went so far as to disembark the greater 
part of his regiment, together with guns and stores 
which had already been put on board ship, allowing 

1 Holwell's India Tracts, pp. 387-416. 


only 250 men to remain, who were to serve as 
marines under Watson. The delay was unfortu- 
nate ; for before the squadron sailed the North- 
east monsoon had set in, and in consequence none 
of the ships reached the Hughli until the middle 
of December, and even then two of the largest 
ships were missing ; the Marlborough^ with most of 
the artillery, and the Cumberland^ with Admiral 
Pocock and 250 English soldiers, having failed to 
make their way against the monsoon. Clive's orders 
were to recapture Calcutta, to attack the Nawab 
at his capital, Murshidabad, and in the event of 
war between England and France being declared, to 
capture the French settlement of Chandernagore 
(Chandranagar). When the expedition reached the 
Hughli, Clive wished the men under his command 
to be taken on in the ships as far as Budge Budge 
(Bajbaj) — a fortified place about ten miles from Cal- 
cutta, which it was necessary to capture ; but Watson, 
with his habitual perversity, insisted upon the troops 
being landed at Mayapur, some miles further down, 
thus obliging them to make a most fatiguing night 
march through a swampy country covered with 
jungle. The result was that they reached Budge 
Budge in an exhausted condition, and being sur- 
prised by the Nawab's troops shortly after their 
arrival, had a very narrow escape from destruction, 
which was averted only by Clive's presence of 
mind and readiness of resource. 


Clive says, in a letter to Pigot reporting this 
affair a few days afterwards, — 

c You must know our march from Mayapur to 
the northward of Budge Budge was much against 
my inclinations. I applied to the Admiral for 
boats to land us at the place we arrived at after 
sixteen hours' march by land. The men suffered 
hardships not easily to be described ; it was four in 
the afternoon when we decamped from Mayapur, 
and we did not arrive off Budge Budge until past 
eight next morning. At nine the Grenadier 
company and all the Sepoys were despatched to 
the fort, where I heard Captain Coote was landed 
with the King's troops. At ten, Manickchand, 
the Governor of Calcutta, attacked us with 
between two and three thousand horse and foot, 
and was worsted. . . . Manickchand himself received 
a shot in his turban. Our two field pieces were 
of little or no service to us, having neither tubes 
nor portfires, and heavy carriages were sent with 
them from Fort St David. Indeed, we still labour 
under every disadvantage in the world for want of the 
Marlborough. It seems the enemy were encamped 
within two miles of us, and we ignorant of the matter. 
So much for the intelligence of the country.' 

There can be no doubt that Clive sustained a 
surprise that might have been prevented had the 
ordinary precautions been used ; but in the circum- 
stances there is much allowance to be made. Clive 


himself was ill, and had suffered much from the 
fatiguing night march which he and his men had 
gone through, owing to Watson's wrong-headed 
obstinacy. But notwithstanding illness and fatigue, 
and the unexpected appearance of a hostile force, 
Clive on this, as on other occasions, never for a 
moment lost his nerve. He at once rallied his men, 
who, awakened out of their sleep by being fired upon, 
were at first thrown into confusion, and then with 
scarcely a pause made dispositions which retrieved 
the situation, although not without heavy loss to 
the English. 

When Watson and Clive entered the river, they 
found at Falta some of the fugitives from Calcutta, 
and the scanty remains of a small force which, 
on the receipt of intelligence of the seizure of 
Kasimbazar, but before the news of the Black 
Hole tragedy had arrived, the Madras authorities 
had sent to Bengal under Major Kilpatrick. Clive, 
after beating off Manickchand's army, was met by 
Major Kilpatrick, who had been sent to his aid with 
reinforcements. In the meantime, Watson had bom- 
barded Budge Budge from his ships, and had effected a 
breach in the ramparts of the fort. Clive had arranged 
to assault the fort the next day, when a drunken 
sailor, discovering the breach, entered it alone, and 
firing his pistol among a small group of the defenders 
who were sitting near, shouted out, l The fort is mine,' 
accompanying the exclamation by three loud cheers. 


He was at once attacked, but defended himself 
valiantly, and some of the English soldiers and Sepoys 
coming up, the garrison abandoned the fort, which 
was taken possession of by Captain Eyre Coote, who 
had come up from Madras with the detachment of 
the 39th Foot. The squadron, with the troops, then 
moved on to Calcutta, which surrendered on the 2d 
January, Manickchand having evacuated the place 
and returned with his army to the headquarters of 
the Nawab at Murshidabad. Then occurred another 
of Watson's arbitrary and ill-judged proceedings. 
Notwithstanding the orders of the Madras Govern- 
ment, investing Clive with military and political control 
in Bengal, Watson appointed Coote, whose rank was 
that of captain, to be Governor of Fort William. 
Clive declined to permit this arrangement, claiming 
the command as the senior officer, and threatened to 
place Coote under arrest if he disobeyed his orders. 
Thereupon Watson threatened to fire upon the fort 
unless Clive gave it up. The matter ended in a com- 
promise, Clive surrendering the fort to Watson on 
condition that it was afterwards handed over to the 
representatives of the Company. In this, and in other 
disputes with Watson, Clive appears to have kept his 
temper, while acting with firmness. Writing to Mr 
Pigot, Clive describes this affair in the following 
v/ords : — 

C I cannot help regretting that I ever undertook 
this expedition. The mortifications I have received 


from Mr Watson 1 and the gentlemen of the squadron 
in point of prerogative are such that nothing but the 
good of the service could induce me to submit to 
them. The morning the enemy quitted Calcutta, a 
party of our Sepoys entered the fort at the same time 
with a detachment from the ships, and were ignomini- 
ously thrust out. Upon coming near the fort myself, 
I was informed that there were orders that none of 
the Company's officers or troops should have entrance. 
This, I own, enraged me to such a degree that I was 
resolved to enter if possible, which I did, though not 
in the manner maliciously reported, by forcing the 
sentries ; for they suffered me to pass very patiently 
upon being informed who I was. At my entrance 
Captain Coote presented me with a commission from 
Admiral Watson appointing him Governor of Fort 
William, which I knew not a syllable of before ; and 
it seems this dirty underhand contrivance was carried 
on in the most secret manner, under a pretence that 
I intended the same thing, which I declare never 
entered my thoughts. The affair was compromised 
by the Admiral consenting that I should be Governor, 
and that the Company's troops should remain in the 
fort. The next day the Admiral delivered up the fort 
to the Company's representatives in the King's name.' 
Watson, it would seem, could not bring himself to 

1 It should be remembered that at that time it was the fashion in 
private letters and in society to describe naval and military officers as 
if they were civilians, and not by their naval or military rank. See 
Thackeray's novels. 


recognise the fact that dive was not only an officer 
of the East India Company, but had been granted a 
royal commission. In this he showed himself both 
stupid and headstrong. Notwithstanding this petty 
jealousy of the Company's service, a jealousy in 
which he was by no means singular, he was an 
honourable man, desirous, according to his lights, to 
serve his King and country ; and in the important 
transactions which afterwards took place, his co-opera- 
tion with Clive appears to have been fairly cordial. 
It was otherwise with the Council at Calcutta, 
who greatly resented the independent powers which 
had been conferred upon Clive by the Madras 
authorities. At that early period those presidential 
jealousies which have so often interfered with the 
efficient administration of Indian affairs, and even now 
are not entirely extinguished, appear to have existed 
in full force. The Select Committee at Calcutta, as 
the Governor's Council was then designated, called 
upon Clive to surrender the powers with which he 
had been invested, and to place himself under them. 
His reply was a decided refusal. i I do not,' he wrote, 
' intend to make use of my power for acting separately 
from you, without you reduce me to the necessity of 
so doing ; but as far as concerns the means of execut- 
ing these powers, you will excuse me, gentlemen, if I 
refuse to give them up. I cannot do it without forfeit- 
ing the trust reposed in me by the Select Committee 
of Fort St George. It does not become me, as an in- 


dividual, to give my opinion whether the conduct of the 
gentlemen of Fort St George has been faulty or not. 
That point must be determined by our superiors.' 

The attitude of the Calcutta Committee was 
described by Clive in a letter to his friend Pigot 
in the following terms, ' I am sorry to say the loss 
of private property and the means of recovering it 
seem to be the only objects which take up the 
thoughts of the Bengal gentlemen. Believe me, 
they are bad subjects and rotten at heart, and will 
stick at nothing to prejudice you and the gentle- 
men of the Committee. Indeed, how should they do 
otherwise when they have not spared one another ? 
I shall only add, their conduct at Calcutta finds 
no excuse even among themselves, and that the 
riches of Peru and Mexico should not induce me 
to dwell among them.' 

Immediately after the recapture of Calcutta, Clive, 
in conjunction with Watson, moved up the river to 
Hughli, and captured that place without difficulty, 
securing booty which was estimated at ^15,000, and 
destroying some large and valuable granaries. They 
had also planned an expedition to Dacca, the capital 
of Eastern Bengal, when they learnt that the Nawab 
was again marching upon Calcutta with a large force. 
A battle ensued on the 5th February, in which 
Clive, with 1350 Europeans, 800 Sepoys and 7 field 
guns, beat the Nawab's force of 40,000 men, in- 
cluding 18,000 cavalry, 40 guns and 50 elephants. 


The greater part of the battle was fought in a dense 
fog, and Clive's men, losing their way, came under 
the fire of their own guns and of those in Fort William. 
At one time the position of the troops was very 
critical. The English loss was heavy, amounting 
to 57 killed and 117 wounded, of whom 39, and 
82, respectively, were Europeans, and it included 
Clive's aide-de-camp and secretary, who were 
killed by his side. But the battle, although attended 
by this heavy loss to the English, was even more 
disastrous to the Nawab's troops, whose casualties 
amounted to 1300, among whom were 2 noblemen 
of high rank and 22 of lesser note. 

Clive's account of the engagement is contained in 
the following letter, addressed by him, a few weeks 
after it was fought, to the Duke of Newcastle. It 
has been for many years deposited among the manu- 
scripts in the British Museum, whence, by the kind- 
ness of Dr Richard Garnett, a copy has been furnished 
to the writer of this Memoir. It is believed that the 
letter has not been published before. 

c From Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Clive to 
Thomas Pelham Holles, Duke of New- 
castle, First Lord of the Treasury. 

' May it please your Grace, — The countenance your 
Grace was pleased to shew me when I left England 
encourages me to address you on the subject of the 
East India Company. 


c No doubt your Grace hath been acquainted with 
the capture of the Town of Calcutta and Fort William 
by the Moors, the principal settlement in the Kingdom 
of Bengali and of the utmost consequence to the E. 
India Company. The loss of private property only 
is computed at more than 2 millions sterling. 

'When this unfortunate news arrived at Madrass, 
the President and Council aplyed to Vice-Admiral 
Watson for assistance in recovering the rights and 
possessions of the Province of Bengal, and for the 
same purpose ordered a large body of land forces 
to embark under my command ; and I have the 
pleasure to inform your Grace this expedition by 
sea and land has been crown'd with all the success 
that could be wished. 

' The Town of Calcutta and Fort William was 
soon retaken, with several other Forts belonging 
to the Enemy. This news brought down the 
Nabob, or Prince of the Country, himselfe at the 
head of 20,000 horse and 30,000 foot, 25 pieces of 
cannon, with a great number of elephants — our 
little army, consisting of 700 Europeans and 1200 
blacks, arm'd and disciplin'd after the English 
manner, lay encamped about 5 miles from the 
Town of Calcutta. On the 4th of February the 
Nabob's Army appear'd in sight, and past our 
camp at the distance of ii miles, and encamp'd 
on the back of the town. Several parties of their 
horse past within 400 yards of our advane'd battery, 


but as wee entertain'd great hopes of" a peace from 
the Nabob's promises, wee did not fire upon them. 
c On the 5th, agreeable to the Nabob's desire, I 
despatch'd two gentlemen to wait upon him, in 
hopes everything might be settled without drawing 
the sword, but the haughtiness and disrespect with 
which he treated them convinced me nothing could 
be expected by mild measures. This determin'd me 
to attack his camp iu the night time, for which pur- 
pose I aply'd to Admiral Watson for 500 sailors to 
draw our cannon, which he readily sent me, and at 
3 o'clock in the morning our little army, consisting 
of 600 Europeans, 500 blacks, 7 feild pieces and 
the sailors above mentioned, set out for the 
attack. A little before day break wee entred the 
camp, and received a very brisk fire. This did not 
stop the progress of our troops, which march'd thro' 
the enemie's camp upwards of 4 miles in length. Wee 
were more than 2 hours passing, and what escaped 
the van was destroy'd by the rear. Wee were 
obliged to keep a constant fire of artillery and 
musketry the whole time. A body of 300 of the 
enemy's horse made a gallant charge, but were re- 
ceived with so much coolness by the military that 
few escaped. Several other brisk charges were made 
on our rear, but to no purpose, and wee returned safe 
to camp, having killed by the best accounts 1300 men 
and between 5 and 600 horse, with 4 elephants ; the 
loss on our side 200 men killed and wounded. This 


blow had its effect, for the next c'ay the army decamp'd 
and the Nabob sent me a letter offering terms of 
accomodation ; and I have the pleasure of acquaint- 
ing your Grace a firm peace is concluded, greatly 
to the honour and advantage of the Company, and 
the Nabob has entered into an alliance offensive and 
defensive with them, and is return'd to his capital 
at Muxadavad. 

* As I have already been honour'd with your 
Grace's protection and favour, I flatter my selfe 
with the continuance of it, and that, if your Grace 
thinks me deserving, your Grace will recommend 
me to the Court of Directors. — I am, with the 
greatest respect, your Grace's most devoted humble 
servant, Robert Clive. 

' Camp near Calcutta, 

' 23d Febry. 1757.' 

The terms of the treaty were exceedingly favour- 
able to the Company. All the privileges formerly 
granted to the English were renewed, all trade covered 
by English passes was freed, all property of the Com- 
pany or of its servants or tenants which had been 
taken by the Nawab's officers to servants was to be 
restored ; the English were to fortify Calcutta, and 
to coin money as they might deem proper. The 
Nawab, on the nth February, began his return march 
to his capital, previously commissioning Omichand, 
in whose garden the late battle had been fought, to 
propose a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, 


with the English. This treaty was accepted and 
signed by CJive and Watson, not without some hesi- 
tation on the part of the latter, who, the day after 
the fight in the outskirts of Calcutta, advised Clive to 
renew his attack. Clive, however, dreaded a combina- 
tion between the French and the Nawab, and regarded 
as a serious danger to Calcutta. He had learnt, when 
at Hughli, that war had been again declared between 
England and France, and before leaving Madras he 
had been instructed by the Government there that, 
in the event of a war with France again breaking 
out in Europe, he was to capture Chandernagore. 
Moreover, the Madras Government were urging him 
to return with the force under his command to 
Madras, where they apprehended a renewal of the 
contest with the French at Pondicherry under the 
leadership of M. Lally Tollendal, a far abler man 
than the successor of Dupleix. Still the situation 
was by no means clear and at one time Clive was 
in favour of accepting a proposal made by M. Renault, 
the Governor of Chandernagore, that the English and 
French authorities in Bengal should maintain a neutral 
attitude. Watson, however, was opposed to signing 
any treaty to this effect, arguing that the Governor of 
Chandernagore was not competent to execute any such 
treaty without the sanction of the Governor of Pondi- 
cherry, and that, if executed, it would not be binding 
on De Bussy and the other French commanders. 







The state of things in the districts north of Madras 
now engaged Clive's attention. De Bussy, who 
was the ablest of the French generals, had been 
sent by Dupleix after the battle of Ambur to the 
Dekhan, where he speedily acquired a commanding 
influence. He had obtained possession for the 
French of the four northern districts of what is 
now the Madras Presidency, commonly known as the 
Northern Sirkars. Having recently quarrelled with 
the Nizam, Salabat Jung, whom he had placed upon 
the throne of Dekhan, De Bussy had distinguished 
himself by his brilliant defence of a post he had 
taken up at Charmahal, close to Hydarabad. At 
this time he was in the Northern Sirkars, and 
within three hundred miles of Calcutta. He had 



under his command a considerable force, composed 
of Frenchmen and trained native Sepoys. He had 
been urged by the Nawab of Bengal to come to 
Chandernagore and to aid him in expelling the English 
from Bengal. M. Law, who had failed so signally 
at Trichinopoly, but in many respects was an able 
man, was actually at Chandernagore. In those 
circumstances Clive held that if the treaty was not 
to be immediately executed, no time should be lost 
in attacking Chandernagore. The Council at 
Calcutta had to be consulted, but their opinions 
were so discordant, and one of them, Mr Drake's, 
so unintelligible, that the question was decided by 
Clive, in conjunction with Major Kilpatrick, in 
favour of the attack, in which Admiral Watson 
was requested to co-operate with his squadron. At 
this juncture intelligence was received of an important 
reinforcement having arrived from Bombay at the 
mouth of the Hughli, under Commodore James, and 
of the arrival in the river Baleshwar, one of the 
tributaries of the Ganges, of the long delayed 
Cumberland^ with Admiral Pocock and a de- 
tachment of the 39th Foot. This intelligence 
would seem to have dispelled any doubts which 
Watson may have entertained as to the wisdom 
of proceeding with the attack. Both he, however, 
and Clive deemed it advisable to obtain the assent 
of the Nawab to the proposed attack, and this, after 
a characteristic correspondence between Watson 


and the Nawab, and a good deal of wavering on 
the part of the latter, was ultimately obtained on 
the 13th March. On the same day Clive demanded 
the surrender of the place ; but this was refused, 
the fort being well fortified both on the land and 
on the river side. It was not taken without severe 
fighting, and it is doubtful whether the combined 
forces under Clive and Watson would have sufficed 
to capture it had there not been treachery in the 
garrison. In anticipation of the attack, the French 
had sunk vessels in the passage through which the 
English ships would have to pass in order to get 
abreast of the fort ; but the French engineer who 
superintended the operation left a passage sufficiently 
wide for the English ships to pass through in single 
file, and then, deserting to the enemy, gave him 
information which enabled him to carry out his 
intended movements. The French fought with the 
greatest gallantry, but were eventually obliged to 
capitulate on the 23d March. The main burden 
of the fighting fell upon the ships which, in making 
their way along the narrow passage already referred 
to in the face of a heavy fire from the fort, 
accomplished a feat memorable in naval history. 
Clive subsequently, in evidence before the House of 
Commons, stated that ' Admiral Watson's fleet sur- 
mounted difficulties which he believed no other 
ships could have done, and that it was impossible 
for him to do the officers of the squadron justice on 


that occasion.' c The English ships were anchored 
so close to the fort that the musketry from the tops 
and poops was most annoying to the enemy, who 
behaved with great gallantry, keeping up a heavy 
and destructive fire, nor did they offer to capitulate 
until their batteries were a heap of ruins, and all 
their guns dismounted.' * According to Sir Charles 
Wilson, i the Admiral's flag-ship was hulled more 
than a hundred times, and every officer but one 
was killed or wounded.' 

Clive with his land force rendered material help, 
driving the French from batteries which they 
had placed both on the north and south sides 
of the fort, and occupying houses which the 
French Governor had not time to destroy, and which 
gave to Clive's men some, though an imperfect, 
shelter from the guns of the fort. The loss on 
both sides was heavy, but it was heavier on the 
side of the English. The forces engaged were 
numerically small. On the side of the French, 
out of 500 European soldiers, 150 were killed or 
wounded, while on the English side the casualties 
amounted to 206. 

During the whole of this time the Madras 
authorities were pressing Clive to bring back his 
force to Madras, where, owing to the renewal of the 
war in Europe, serious apprehension was entertained 
of another attack from Pondicherry under the leader- 

1 See Malcolm's Life of C 'live , vol. i., p. 192. 


ship of the famous M. Lally de Tollendal, who was 
expected there with a French fleet ; but Clive re- 
garded the destruction of French power in Bengal 
as a matter of the gravest importance, feeling that 
the English and their European rivals could not co- 
exist as political powers in India. Impressed by this 
consideration, Clive, very shortly after the capture 
of Chandernagore, called upon the Nawab, through 
Mr Watts, the Company's agent at Murshidabad, 
either to surrender to the British, or to expel from 
Bengal any Frenchmen remaining in his territory. 
Watson took a similar view, and expressed it in 
language stronger even than that used by Clive. 
In a letter to the Nawab, dated the 19th April 
1757, he wrote that while a Frenchman remained 
in Bengal he c would never cease pursuing him.' 
But the necessity of expelling the French from 
Bengal was not the only motive which induced 
Clive to delay his return to Madras. The character 
of the Nawab, and the incompetence of the Calcutta 
Council, furnished cogent reasons why he should 
remain at that juncture in Bengal. Clive had 
already discovered that the Nawab, treacherous as 
he was cruel, was not to be relied upon to fulfil 
any engagement, however solemnly entered into. 
During the siege of Chandernagore he had alternately 
threatened and courted Mr Watts. On hearing 
of the capture of Chandernagore he was filled with 
rage, and gave vent to his feelings in no measured 


language. Shortly afterwards he sent letters to 
Watson and Clive congratulating them on their 
victory, and offering them the territory of Chander- 
nagore on the same terms on which it had been 
held by the French, and further offering to restore 
or make compensation for the property which had 
been destroyed at the capture of Calcutta in 1756. 
It seems probable that in making these offers the 
Nawab was partly actuated by fear of a threatened 
invasion of Bengal by the son of the Emperor of 
Delhi, afterwards known as the Emperor Shah Alam. 

Distrust of the Nawab was by no means confined 
to Clive. It was shared by all the English in Bengal. 
It was also shared by many of the leading men among 
the Nawab's own followers, who, disgusted by his 
cowardice, his cruelty and his perfidy, were already 
engaged in a plot to dethrone him. 

The other reason which weighed with Clive in 
declining to comply with the orders from Madras, 
viz., the unfitness of the gentlemen composing the 
Calcutta Council, or Select Committee, as it was 
then called, to deal with any sudden crisis, was also 
very important. These persons had shown that thev 
were individually weak and divided among themselves, 
and that, when acting in a body, they were unable 
to subordinate their own interests, as they regarded 
them, to the interests of the public service. The 
situation of Madras was very different. Both Stringer 
Lawrence and Pigot were strong and capable men, 


and might be trusted to do all that was possible with 
the means at their disposal. Moreover, during the 
few months that Clive had been in Bengal, he had 
become strongly impressed by the great natural re- 
sources of the province, and by its importance from 
a commercial point of view, and he felt that some 
risk might well be incurred for the sake of secur- 
ing for his countrymen, the advantages which must 
result from maintaining an influential position in 

After the capture of Chandernagore, Clive's distrust 
of the Nawab was intensified, not only by the in- 
formation supplied by Mr Watts of his intrigues with 
the French, but by his refusal to allow the passage of 
a few Sepoys and of supplies of ammunition and stores 
to the English factory at Kasimbazar. Meanwhile, 
Clive received from Watts information of the plot 
already referred to, which had been formed by some 
of the leading personages at the Nawab's court, to 
dethrone him. These persons were Raja Dulab Ram, 
the finance minister, Mir Jafar, the Commander-in- 
Chief of the army, and Yar Latif Khan, a man not of 
the first rank, who would seem to have started the 
conspiracy, stipulating that, if it succeeded, he should 
be made Nawab. There is some ground, however, 
for supposing that the original suggestion emanated 
from Jaggat Seth, a wealthy banker, who had received 
personal insults from the Nawab. Another person 
of considerable weight who was also implicated in the 


plot, was Omichand, the wealthy Hindu, in whose 
garden the Nawab's camp had been pitched on 
that foggy night in February when Clive marched 
through it. On that occasion he sustained a some- 
what heavy loss, but inflicted a much heavier loss upon 
the troops of the Nawab, and thereby frightened the 
latter into treating for peace. At an early stage of 
the proceedings Clive received overtures from Mir 
Jafar, the Commander-in-Chief, who offered to aid 
the English against the Nawab on condition that he 
should succeed him. The events which followed in- 
cluded what in some respects were the most brilliant, 
and were certainly the most questionable, incidents in 
Clive's career. While his military reputation, already 
established by the defence of Arcot, the victory at 
Kaveripak, and the operations before Trichinopoly, 
rose higher than ever, and while he developed a 
capacity for civil and political administration of the 
highest order, the fame of his exploits was tarnished 
by a breach of faith which it is impossible to justify, 
and by the acceptance of large sums of money from 
the native prince whom he placed upon the throne of 
Bengal after the deposition of Suraj ud Daulah. The 
negotiations with Mir Jafar were principally con- 
ducted through the agency of the Hindu, Omichand, 
who, having entered into solemn engagements to 
support the English cause, was accused of having 
threatened to divulge the conspiracy to Suraj ud 
Daulah, demanding thirty lakhs of rupees as the 


price of his silence. This story has been accepted 
by successive historians of British India, and until 
very recently by successive biographers of Clive. It 
is mentioned by Orme, who, however, qualifies his 
mention of it by using the words, ' It is said,' with- 
out vouching for the correctness of the statement, 
although not further throwing any doubt upon it. 
It is accepted by Mill, by his annotator, Wilson, and 
by Marshman. It is adopted by Malcolm in his Life 
of Clivcy by Macaulay in his famous Essay on CIive> 
by Gleig, and by Sir Charles Wilson in the series or 
English Men of Action. It is, however, strongly 
questioned by Colonel Malleson in his memoir 
published as recently as 1882, where for various 
reasons he endeavours to show that there is no 
evidence to prove it, and that in the circumstances 
it is very improbable that Omichand, whatever his 
secret intentions may have been, used any such 
threat either in speech or in writing. But Colonel 
Malleson does not question the fact that Omichand 
made an excessive demand, or that at a meeting of 
the Council, Clive denounced him as ' the greatest 
villain upon earth.' 

It had been settled that a treaty should be drawn 
up, embodying the terms upon which Mir Jafar 
should be placed upon the throne, and Omichand 
had demanded that the payment to be made to him 
should be inserted in the treaty. In order to defeat 
the latter demand, Clive resorted to the expedient, 


which was sanctioned by the Calcutta Council, of 
drawing up two treaties, one on white paper, and the 
other on red paper. In the white treaty, which was 
the real one, no mention was made of any payment 
to Omichand. In the red treaty, which was shewn 
to Omichand, but which was not the document 
given to Mir Jafar, the payment to be made 
to Omichand was set forth in full. It appears 
that Admiral Watson, who in all the operations in 
Bengal up to that time had been associated with 
Clive, declined to sign the red treaty. It was feared 
that the absence of Watson's signature would be 
noticed by Omichand, and might therefore lead to 
the disclosure of the plot. Accordingly Watson's 
signature was attached to the red treaty by another 
person — by Clive,. according to Macaulay, but if not 
by Clive, at all events under his orders. On the 
strength of evidence subsequently given by Clive, 
Sir John Malcolm, who defends the transaction as 
a pious and necessary fraud, represents that Watson, 
while refusing to affix his signature to the fictitious 
treaty, did not object to its being done for him. At 
any rate, he did not resent the use which was made 
of his name ; for before the expedition started for 
Plassey, and after having been made fully acquainted 
with what had taken place, he wrote to Clive in the 
following terms : — 

4 1 am glad to hear that Mir Jafar's party increases. 
I hope everything will turn out in the expedition to 


your wishes, and that I may soon have to congratulate 
you on the success of it. I most heartily pray for 
your health and a speedy return crowned with laurels.' 
It is also the fact that after the plot succeeded, 
Watson claimed a share in the plunder. Clive to 
the last maintained that, looking to Omichand's 
misconduct, the artifice which had been resorted to 
was perfectly justifiable, and that while he believed 
that Watson had authorised Mr Lushington to 
attach his signature to the fictitious treaty, he would, 
in the. circumstances, have ordered Watson's name 
to be attached, whether he had consented or not. 










The treaties were signed on 19th May, and were 
at once sent to Mir Jafar for signature. The real 
treats provided for an offensive and defensive alliance 
with Mir Jafar ; for a prohibition against any re- 
settlement of the French in Bengal, and for the 
transfer of their factories to the English Company ; 
for compensation for English losses at Calcutta, viz., 
to the Company, £1,000,000 ; to the European 
inhabitants, £500,000 ; to the native inhabitants, 
£200,000 ; to the Armenians, £70,000 ; for the 
cession of all land within the Mahratta Ditch and 
600 yards beyond it ; for the cession to the Company 
of the Zemidari of the country to the south of 
Calcutta as far as Kalpi, subject to the payment of 



the customary rent ; for the payment by the Nawdb 
of all English troops sent to his assistance, and for 
a prohibition against the erection of any new forts 
below Hughli. Under a supplementary treaty, Mir 
Jafar was to pay ^500,000 to the army and navy, 
and .£120,000 to the Members of Council. 

Mir Jafar's signature to the treaty was received 
on the 1 2th June, and Clive's force at once advanced. 
On that day all the troops quartered at Calcutta, 
together with 150 sailors from the fleet, crossed 
over to Chandernagore, where they joined the 
remainder of the force already quartered at the 
latter place. The Europeans, including the artillery, 
were sent up the river in 200 boats, the Sepoys 
inarching by land. On the 13th June, Clive de- 
spatched to the Nawab a letter which was practically 
a declaration of war. It arraigned the Nawab for 
his breach of treaty, and informed him that Clive 
had determined, with the approbation of all who 
were charged with the Company's affairs, to proceed 
immediately to Kasimbazar, and to submit the dispute 
with the Nawab to the arbitration of Mir Jafar, 
Raja Dulab Ram, Jaggat Seth, and 'others of your 
Highness' great men.' < If these,' he wrote, ' decide 
that I have deviated from the treaty, then I swear 
to give up all further claims upon your Highness ; 
but if it should appear that your Highness has broken 
faith, then I shall demand satisfaction for all the 
losses sustained by the English, and all the charges 


of the army and navy.' The letter ended with 
an intimation that as the rains were at hand, and it 
would take many days to receive an answer, the writer 
would ' wait upon the Nawab at his capital to receive 
satisfaction.' The attitude which Clive adopted was 
bold and defiant, but, for all that, Clive was by no 
means free from anxietv. It was not at all certain 
that Mir Jafar would adhere to his agreement. He 
was to have joined Clive at Katwa with a friendly 
force, but instead of doing so he merely sent Clive 
a letter promising to join him on the field of battle. 
On the 14th, Clive's force reached Kalna, where it 
was joined by Watts, who had escaped from Mur- 
shidabad on the previous day. On the 17th, they 
captured Katwa, with its fortress, after a slight resist- 
ance, and found the place well stocked with grain. 
On the 19th, while they halted at Katwa, the 
monsoon rains set in, and the troops, who were lodged 
in tents, had to take shelter in huts and small houses. 
On the same day Clive, v/hose anxiety continued to 
be very great, addressed the following letter to the 
Committee at Calcutta : — 

c I feel the greatest anxiety at the little intelligence 
I receive from Mir Jafar, and if he is not treacherous, 
his sang fr old or want of strength will, I fear, overset 
the expedition. I am trying a last effort by means 
of a Brahmin to prevail upon him to march out and 
join us. I have appointed Plassey as the place of 
rendezvous, and have told him at the same time that 


unless he gives this or some other sufficient proof of 
the sincerity of his intentions, I will not cross the 
river. This, I hope, will meet with your approbation. 
1 shall act with such caution as not to risk the loss 
of our forces ; and whilst we have them, we may 
always have it in our power to bring about a revolu- 
tion, though the present should not succeed. They 
say there is a considerable quantity of grain in and 
about the place. If we collect eight or ten thousand 
maunds' (eight or ten hundred thousand pounds), 'we 
may maintain our situation during the rains, which will 
greatly distress the Nawab, and either reduce him to 
terms which may be depended upon, or give us time 
to bring in the Birbhum Raja, the Mahrattas, or 
Ghazi ud din. I desire you will give your sentiments 
freely how you think I should act if Mir Jafar can 
give us no assistance.' 

The situation was certainly a very alarming one. 
Clive had only 3200 men to oppose to what proved 
to be an army of 50,000. He had no cavalry, and 
only a few guns, while the enemy had a large artillery 
force. In the circumstances, it is perhaps hardly to 
be wondered at that Clive should desire to share the 
responsibility. This he did, for what proved to be the 
first and last time in his life, by holding a council of 
war, to which he propounded the following question : 
' Whether, in our present situation, without assist- 
ance, and on our own bottom, it would be prudent to 
attack the Nawab, or whether we should wait till 


joined by some country power.' l Of the sixteen 
Members of the Council, nine, including Clive, voted 
for delay, and seven, including Eyre Coote, were for 
an immediate attack. But Clive did not adhere to 
his original vote. After the Council had risen, he 
withdrew to a clump of trees, and having passed an 
hour in thinking over all the arguments for and 
against delay, he determined to move forward at once. 
Meeting Eyre Coote on his way back to camp, he 
told him he had changed his mind, and intended to 
march the next morning. Accordingly, in the early 
morning of the 22d June, the force marched down 
the bank of the Bhaghirathi, and crossed the river 
the same afternoon without meeting with any oppo- 
sition. There still remained fifteen miles to be 
traversed in order to reach Plassey. Clive's force, after 
struggling through mud and water in a continued 
torrent of rain, did not arrive at the village until one 
o'clock on the morning of the 23d. Clive had heard 
from Mir Jafar that the Nawab's army would halt at 
Mankarah, a place some miles short of Plassey ; but 
the Nawab had changed his plans, and reached 
Plassey twelve hours before Clive. Thus, on his ar- 
rival, Clive found that the enemy were close at hand. 

1 Colonel Malleson states the question which was put to the Council 
in the following terms: — 'Whether the army should at once cross into 
the island of Kisimbazar, and at all risks attack the Nawab 5 or whether, 
availing themselves of the large supplies of rice they had taken at Katwa, 
they should maintain themselves during the rainy season, and in the 
meantime invite the co-operation of the Mahrattas.' 


He spent the remainder of the night making his 
dispositions, while his troops bivouacked in an exten- 
sive mango grove on ground already soaked by the 
rain, which was still falling. The mango grove was 
800 yards in length and 300 in breadth, and was sur- 
rounded by a bank and a ditch. About 50 yards 
beyond it stood a hunting box belonging to the 
Nawab of Oude. Of this Clive at once took posses- 
sion. The grove was little more than a mile from 
the Nawab's encampment. The force under Clive, as 
stated, did not exceed 3200 men, of whom 900 were 
English, 200 were Eurasians, and 21 00 native Sepoys. 
There was a small artillery train, composed of eight 
six pounders and two small howitzers. The Nawab's 
army, so far as numerical strength was concerned, 
was enormously superior to Clive's force. It consisted 
of 35,000 infantry, for the most part imperfectly 
trained and undisciplined, and 15,000 cavalry well 
mounted and well armed. He had 53 pieces of 
artillery, most of them of heavy calibre, and with 
them 40 or 50 Frenchmen commanded by M. St 
Frais, who had been a member of the French Council 
at Chandernagore. His army occupied a strongly 
intrenched position. His right rested on the river, 
while his left stretched out into the open plain. 

The following is a brief description of the battle, 
taken from Clive's journal of military proceedings : — s 

i At daybreak we discovered the Nawab's army at 

1 See Colonel Wilson's History of the Madras Artny y vol. i., p. 83. 


the distance of about three miles in full march towards 
us, upon which the whole were ordered under arms, 
being in two battalions. The Europeans were told 
off in four grand divisions, the artillery distributed 
between them, and the Sepoys on the right and left 
of the whole. 

4 Our situation was very advantageous, being in a 
grove surrounded by high mud banks. Our right 
and front were entirely covered by those mud banks, 
our left by Placis' house and the river, our rear by 
the grove and a large village. The enemy approached 
apace, covered a fine extensive plain in front of us as 
far as the eye could discern from right to left, and 
consisted, as we have since learned, of 15,000 horse and 
35,000 foot, with more than 40 pieces of cannon, 
from thirty-two to nine pounders. They began to 
cannonade from this heavy artillery, which, though 
well pointed, could do little execution, our people 
being lodged under the banks. We could not hope 
to succeed in an attempt on their cannon, as they 
were planted almost round, and at a considerable 
distance both from us and each other. We therefore 
remained quiet in front, in hopes of a successful attack 
on their camp at night. At 300 yards from the bank 
under which we were posted was a pool of water 
with high banks all round it, and was apparently 
a post of strength. This the enemy presently took 
possession of, and would have galled us much from 
thence, but for our advantageous position, with some 


cannon managed by 50 Frenchmen. This heavy 
artillery continued to play very briskly on the grove. 
4 As their army, exclusive of a few advanced parties, 
were drawn up at too great a distance for our short 
sixes to reach them, one field piece with a howitzer 
was advanced 200 yards in front, and we could see 
that they played with great success amongst those 
that were of the first rank, by which the whole 
army was dispirited and thrown into confusion. 

1 A large body of their horse starting out on our 
right, and as by that movement we supposed they 
intended an attempt on the advanced field piece 
and howitzer, they were both ordered back. 

c About eleven o'clock a very heavy shower of rain 
came on, and we imagined the horse would now, if 
ever, have attacked in hopes of breaking us, as they 
might have thought we could not then make use of 
our firelocks ; but their ignorance or the brisk firing 
of our artillery prevented them from attempting it. 

' At noon, a report being made that a party of horse 
had attacked and taken our boats, the pickets were 
ordered, but the account proving false, they were 

1 The enemy's fire now began to slacken, and soon 
after entirely ceased. In this situation we remained 
until two o'clock, when, perceiving that most of the 
enemy were returned to their camp, it was thought 
a proper opportunity to seize one of the eminences 
from which the enemy had much annoyed us in the 


morning. Accordingly, the Grenadiers of the 1st 
Battalion, with two field pieces and a body of Sepoys, 
supported by four platoons and two field pieces from 
the 2d Battalion, were ordered to take possession of 
it, which accordingly they did. 

' This encouraged us to take possession of another 
advanced post within 300 yards of the entrance to the 
enemy's camp. 

'All these motions brought the enemy out a second 
time, but in attempting to bring out their cannon they 
were so galled by our artillery that they could not 
effect it, notwithstanding they made several attempts. 
Their horse and foot, however, advanced much nearer 
than in the morning, and by their motions made as if 
they intended to charge ; two or three large bodies 
being within 150 yards. In this situation they stood 
a considerable time a very brisk and severe cannonade, 
which killed them upwards of 400 men, among whom 
were four or five principal officers. This loss put the 
enemy into great confusion, and encouraged us to 
attack the entrance into their camp and an adjacent 
eminence at the same time. This we effected with 
little or no loss, although the former was defended 
by the 50 French and a very large body of black 
infantry, and the latter by a large body of horse and 
foot intermixt together. During the heat of the 
action the remainder of the forces were two or three 
times ordered to join us, and that order as often 
countermanded on account of the movement of a 



large body of horse towards the grove, whom we had 
often fired upon to keep at a proper distance. Those 
afterwards proved to be our friends, commanded by 
Mir Jafar. The entrance to the camp being gained, 
a general rout ensued, and the whole army continued 
the pursuit for upwards of six miles, which, for want 
of horse, answered no other purpose than that of 
taking all their artillery, consisting of forty pieces of 
cannon, and all their baggage.' 

Such is the account which Clive gave of the battle 
in a journal written by him very shortly after, if not 
on, the day after it was fought. It cannot be said 
that it furnishes a very clear or full narrative of the 
events of the day. It does not mention the death of 
Mir Mudin, the Nawab's only faithful general, which 
appears to have occurred shortly after eleven o'clock, 
and was really the crisis of the battle. It contains no 
statement of the loss sustained, which, however, was 
very slight. Orme gives some particulars, but as 
regards the Europeans in a very imperfect form. He 
states : * This important victory was gained with little 
loss, only sixteen Sepoys were killed and thirty-six 
wounded. And of the Europeans about twenty were 
killed and wounded, of which number six of the killed 
and ten of the wounded were of the artillery, as were 
likewise the two officers who were wounded during 
the different operations of the day.' The numbers of 
killed and wounded are given somewhat more in detail 
by Malleson, although his totals agree with those 


given by Orme. By Malleson's account, seven 
Europeans were killed and sixteen wounded. Accord- 
ing to both these writers, the total number of killed 
and wounded in Clive's force was seventy-two. The 
loss on the Nawab's side appears to have been between 
five and six hundred. 

Considering the great disparity of numbers, the loss 
to Clive's force was ridiculously small. Indeed, as Sir 
Alfred Lyall justly observes in his interesting review 
of The Rise and Expansion of the British Dominion in 
India, the so-called battle of Plassey was a rout rather 
than a battle. As a military achievement it cannot be 
compared with the defence of Arcot, or with the fight 
at Kaveripak, or with some other actions in which 
Clive was engaged. At the same time its results 
were far-reaching and of the greatest political import- 
ance. Indeed, it is universally regarded by historians 
as the starting-point of British dominion in India. 

Had Plassey been lost, the establishment of British 
rule in India would in all probability never have taken 
place ; and although Plassey was followed in a very 
few years by other contests far more severe, such as 
Adams's fights at Gheria and at Andhanala, and Sir 
Hector Munro's victory over the Moghul's and the 
Nawab Vazir's troops at Buxar, the political import- 
ance of Plassey, which placed the ruler of the richest 
provinces in India in subjection to the English 
Company, can hardly be over-estimated. Nor, 
although the victory was so easily won, was it less 


remarkable than dive's other military achievements 
for the strategy which he displaved or for the unfail- 
ing nerve and coolness with which he encountered 
the enormous odds against him. Clive had not 
anticipated that the Nawab would be able to array 
against him so large a force. When day broke on 
that June morning, and revealed to his astonished 
gaze the 50,000 horse and foot and the large artillery 
force, to which he had to oppose his 3200 infantry, 
his eight light field pieces and no cavalry, it must 
have needed an amount of nerve which is rarely 
possessed even by the bravest men to make his 
dispositions for the approaching battle. But on this, 
as on other occasions, Clive's nerve never failed. 
Indeed, the greater the danger, the more clear was 
his judgment and the more keen his courage. 

The position which Clive took up in the mango 
grove, protected as it was by the trees and by the 
mud bank surrounding it, which rendered the heavy 
artillery of the enemy practically innocuous, and the 
skill with which his few field pieces were directed, 
were important elements in securing the victory. 
Indeed, the most remarkable feature in the battle is 
that while the artillery force of the enemy was 
enormously superior in the weight of metal and in 
the number of guns to that of Clive, the contest 
was mainly an artillery contest, and was practically 
decided by that arm. The death of the Nawab's 
only faithful general, Mir Mudin, who was mortally 


wounded by a cannon shot, was, as we have said, the 
crisis of the battle. It so disheartened the Nawab 
that from that moment he gave himself up to despair, 
and became only too ready to listen to the insidious 
advice of the leaders who had betrayed him, that he 
should quit the field and leave it to them to continue 
the battle. Important as Plassey was, and well as it 
was fought by Clive and his small force, it is not a 
battle that can be held to redound to the credit of 
British arms. Looking to the enormous disparity of 
numbers, and making every allowance for the superior 
courage and training of the victorious force, it can 
hardly be supposed that the result could have been 
what it was, had it not been for the treachery of the 
Nawab's principal generals. 

On the evening after the battle, Clive's force halted 
at Daudpur, six miles beyond Plassey. There on the 
next day he was joined by Mir Jafar, the latter not 
altogether at ease as to the reception he might meet 
with after his somewhat ambiguous attitude both 
before and during the engagement ; but Clive at once 
reassured him, and saluted him as the Nawab of 
Bengal, Behar and Orissa, advising him to proceed at 
once to Murshidabad, to secure the person of Suraj 
ud Daulah and prevent the place being plundered. 

Suraj ud Daulah had fled from the battlefield 
some time before the issue was finally decided, 
and had arrived the same night at Murshidabad. 
On the following night Mir Jafar reached that 


place. The whole of that day Suraj iid Daulah had 
passed in a state of the greatest perplexity as to the 
course he should pursue, whether he should submit 
to the English or should make a stand in the city. 
Some of his principal officers advised the former, some 
the latter, course. He had decided to resist, and had 
ordered his troops to be massed for this purpose, when 
he heard of the arrival of Mir Jafar. Then he re- 
solved upon flight, and accompanied by his favourite 
wife and a single eunuch, he left his palace in dis- 
guise, and entering a boat which had been engaged 
for the purpose, reached Rajmahal, ninety miles 
distant, on the evening of the fourth day. There the 
rowers were obliged to halt for a rest, and taking 
refuge in a deserted garden, the Nawab was seen by 
a fakir whose ears he had caused to be cut off 
thirteen months before, and was handed over to Mir 
Jafar's brother, who resided at Rajmahal. He was at 
once captured, sent back to Murshidabad, and handed 
over to Mir Jafar on the 2d July. He pleaded 
earnestly for his life, offering to give up everything 
else, and Mir Jafar, probably remembering the kindness 
he had received from the grandfather of his prisoner, 
was at first disposed to spare him, but afterwards 
consulted with his higher officials, some of whom advo- 
cated a policy of clemency, while others, including Mir 
Jafar's son, Miran, a truculent youth, not unlike 
Suraj ud Daulah in disposition, urged that the only 
security against a fresh revolution lay in the death of 


the prisoner. The latter accordingly was made over 
to Mfran, by whose orders he was brutally murdered 
in the course of the night. 

Meanwhile Clive with a portion of his force had on 
the 29th June entered Murshidabad, and had formally 
installed Mir Jafar as Nawab. His entry into the 
city had been somewhat delayed owing to the alleged 
discovery of a plot to assassinate him, in which Mfran 
was said to have been the principal agent. This 
statement, however, was afterwards discredited. On 
the following day Clive, accompanied by Mir Jafar, 
repaired to the house of Jaggat Seth for the purpose 
of obtaining the price of his victory. It has been 
already stated that the payments to be made to the 
Company, to the inhabitants of Calcutta, to the army 
and navy, to Clive and to the members of the 
Council in the event of Mir Jafar being placed upon 
the throne, amounted to little short of two millions 
and a half sterling, or two crores four hundred and 
ninetv thousand rupees. The wealth of the deposed 
Nawab had been greatly over-estimated. Mr Watts 
had stated that it amounted to four millions. When 
Clive went to the treasury, it was found that the sum 
actually there did not exceed one million and a half. 
The result was that Clive had to be satisfied with 
receiving at once one-half of the stipulated sum, of 
which two-thirds were to be paid in money and one- 
third in gold and silver plate, jewels and goods, while 
the other half was to be discharged in three annual 


payments. Mfr Jafar subsequently made Clive a 
personal present of ^160,000. After these arrange- 
ments had been made, it became necessary to inform 
Omichand of the trick which had been practised upon 
him. This was done under Clive's instructions, and 
in his presence, by his secretary, Mr Scrafton, who 
said to Omichand, c the red paper is a trick — you 
are to have nothing.' According to Orme, c these 
words overpowered him like a blast of sulphur. He 
sank back fainting, and would have fallen to the 
ground had not one of his attendants caught him in 
his arms. They carried him to his palankin, in which 
they conveyed him to his house, where he remained 
many hours in stupid melancholy, and began to show 
symptoms of insanity. Some days afterwards he 
visited Colonel Clive, who advised him to make a 
pilgrimage to some pagoda, which he accordingly did 
soon after to a famous one near Malda. He went, 
and returned insane, his mind every day more and 
more approaching to idiotism ; and contrary to the 
usual manners of old age in Indostan, still more to the 
former excellence of his understanding, he delighted in 
being continually dressed in the richest garments and 
ornamented with the most costly jewels. In this 
state of imbecility he died about a year and a half 
after the shock of his disappointment.' 

This account is adopted by Mill ; but some doubt 
is thrown upon the alleged loss of reason by Wilson, 
who edited and commented upon Mill's History, 


inasmuch as Clive, in a subsequent letter to the 
Court of Directors, describes Omichand as * a person 
capable of rendering you great services, and therefore 
not wholly to be discarded.' * 

After the capture of Chandernagore, Law had joined 
the Nawab at Murshidabad with the French contin- 
gent under his command ; but before Plassey was 
fought, the Nawab, intimidated by Clive's demand that 
he should dismiss all Frenchmen from his service, 
had sent Law away, bidding him not to go further 
than Bhagalpur, in case his services should be again 
required. This was a fatal step ; for had Law and 
his contingent been at Plassey, supporting M. St 
Frais with his small body of French soldiers, who 
remained faithful to the end, it is quite possible that 
the result might have been different. Clive, after 
Plassey, sent Eyre Coote in pursuit of Law, but the 
latter by forced marches made his escape into Oudh, 
whither Coote's men refused to follow him. 

1 See also Malcolm's Life of Cliue, vol. i., p. 301. 







The distribution of the spoil was the next matter 
which engaged Clive's attention. The first instal- 
ment was sent to Calcutta in boats, with flags flying 
and drums beating, and naturally caused great re- 
joicing in the settlement. The compensation to 
be given to the sufferers from the events of the 
preceding year was settled without much difficulty. 
Not so the distribution of the sums payable to the 
army and navy. Admiral Watson had preferred 
a claim to a special grant in addition to his share 
of the sum allotted to the navy, in consideration 



of the part he had taken in the various operations 
which preceded Plassey. This claim was rejected, 
although strongly supported by Give, who offered 
to give up a portion of his own share, and invited 
the other members of the Calcutta Committee to 
do the same, in order that Watson's claim might be 
met. A claim preferred by the navy, to the effect 
that the officers and sailors belonging to the squadron 
who had accompanied the land force to Plassey 
should be allowed to share in the prize money, was 
also rejected by a council of war convened by 
Clive, and on his overruling the votes of the council, 
a remonstrance was addressed to him by the mal- 
content military officers, which elicited the following 
reply : — 

c Gentlemen, — I have received both your remon- 
strance and protest. Had you consulted the dictates 
of your own reason, those of justice, or the respect 
due to your commanding officer, I am persuaded that 
such a paper, so highly injurious to your own honour 
as officers, would never have escaped you. 

c You say you were assembled as a council to give 
your opinion about a matter of property. Pray, 
gentlemen, how comes it that a promise of a sum 
of money from the Nawab, entirely negotiated by 
me, can be deemed a matter of right and property ? 
So very far from it, it is now in my power to return 
to the Nawab the money already advanced, and leave 


it to his option whether he will perform his promise 
or not. You have stormed no town and found the 
money there ; neither did you find it in the plains 
of Plassey after the defeat of the Nawab. In short, 
gentlemen, it pains me to remind you that what you 
are to receive is entirely owing to the care I took 
of your interests. Had I not interfered greatly in 
it, you had been left to the Company's generosity, 
who perhaps would have thought you sufficiently re- 
warded in receiving a present of six months' pay ; in 
return for which I have been treated with the great- 
est disrespect and ingratitude, and, what is still worse, 
you have flown in the face of my authority for over- 
ruling an opinion which would have been highly 
injurious to your own reputation, being attended 
with injustice to the navy, and been of the worst 
consequences to the cause of the nation and the 
Company. I shall therefore send the money direct 
to Calcutta, give directions to the agents of both 
parties to have it shroffed ; and when the Nawab 
signifies his pleasure (on whom it solely depends) 
that the money be paid you, you shall then receive 
it, and not before. 

' Your behaviour has been such that you cannot 
expect I should interest myself any further in your 
concerns. I therefore retract the promise I made 
the other day of negotiating either the rest of the 
Nawab's promise, or the one-third which was to 
be received in the same manner as the rest of the 


public money at three yearly equal payments — I am, 
gentlemen, your most obedient humble servant, 

' Robert Clive. 

4 MURSHIDABAD, $t/l July I757-' 

The malcontents having expressed regret at their 
conduct, Clive at once sent them the following 
reply : — 

' Gentlemen, — I have ever been desirous of the 
love and good opinion of my officers, and have often 
pursued their interests in preference to my own. 
What passed the other day is now forgotten, and I 
shall always be glad of an opportunity of convinc- 
ing you how much I am, gentlemen, your most 
obedient humble servant, 

' Robert Clive. 

'Murshidabad, gt/i July 1757.' 

Clive's equanimity was also much disturbed by 
the conduct of the Select Committee at Calcutta. 
In a letter written three days after Plassey, he com- 
ments thus upon the attitude of that body : — 

1 1 have received a letter from Mr Drake in answer 
to my letter to the Committee which is very unusual 
on such important occasions ; and I cannot help 
thinking that had the expedition miscarried, you 
would have laid the whole blame upon me.' 

The next day, in answer to a letter written on the 
very day on which Plassey was fought, he writes : — 


c I have received your letter on the 23d instant, the 
contents of which are so indefinite and contradictory 
that I can put no other construction upon it than 
an intent to clear yourself at my expense had the 
expedition miscarried. It puts me in mind of the 
famous answer of the Delphic Oracle to Pyrrhus, 
" Aio te iEacide Romanos vincere posse." ' 

Clive remained at Murshidabad until the return of 
Coote to Patna from his fruitless march after Law. 
He then proceeded to Calcutta, where he arrived just 
in time to attend the funeral of Watson, who died 
on the 1 6th August after a few days' illness. From 
a letter which he wrote on this occasion, it appears 
that notwithstanding Watson's obstructive proceed- 
ings during the earlier months of their acquaintance, 
Clive fully recognised his worth and sincerely lamented 
his death. He found many things which called for 
immediate attention. The state of the Civil Service 
was far from satisfactory. With two brilliant excep- 
tions, Warren Hastings and Watts, there was then 
no civil servant of great mark in Bengal. More 
officers were needed for the army. The new 
Naw&b was by no means a capable person, and 
needed all the support that Clive could give him. 
If he had consulted his own personal predilections, 
Clive would have left India and retired upon the 
large fortune which he had acquired. But the 
situation in the Carnatic was extremely critical. 
The representatives of the English Company at 


Madras were again threatened with an attack by 
the French. Lally, an ambitious and energetic, 
though ill-judging man, full of martial ardour, had 
been appointed Governor of Pondicherry, with 
orders to attack the English. Bussy was still in 
the Northern Sirkars, and Stringer Lawrence, who 
commanded the troops at Madras, had, under the 
weight of advancing years, lost some of the' energy 
which had distinguished him a few years before. 
The Madras authorities were urgent in their 
demands that Clive should return with the troops 
which he had taken to Bengal. Clive, who was 
most loyal in his attachment to his former masters, 
and to the Presidency to which he belonged, had 
quite made up his mind to return with as little 
delay as possible to the Carnatic. But this decision 
he was compelled to abandon by the state of affairs 
in Bengal. Mir Jafar was by no means an able 
man, and whatever capacity at an earlier period he 
may have displayed as a soldier, he was no states- 
man. His position, it must be admitted, was one 
of extreme difficulty. The payments which he had 
been compelled to make to the English after Plassey 
had emptied his treasury, and the only means he had 
of replenishing it was to exact contributions from 
the wealthy natives around him. This led to re- 
bellions on the part of some of his leading Hindu 
subjects. At the same time he was threatened with 
invasion by the Nawab of Oudh, with whom Law 


and his French contingent had taken refuge. Clive 
felt bound to help him in his difficulties, but at the 
same time to prevent him from oppressing his own 
subjects. In this he succeeded. He effected a 
reconciliation between Mir Jafar and his disaffected 
subjects, and he availed himself of the opportunity 
to secure the means of enforcing the claims of the 
Company under the treaty, which still remained un- 
satisfied, by obtaining an assignment of the revenue 
of certain districts near Calcutta in satisfaction of 
those claims. He also obtained for the Company a 
lucrative monopoly as renters of the Salt Tax. The 
threatened invasion from Oudh collapsed. About 
this time Clive was created by the Emperor of 
Delhi an Amir, or noble of the Empire, with the 
rank of Mansubdar or Commander of six thousand 
foot and four thousand horse, and the title of Zabit- 
ul-mulk, Nasir-ud-daulah, Sabat Jung Bahadur. Ever 
after this Clive was known by the natives of India as 
4 Sabat Jung,' or the ' Daring in War.' 

In the course of the same year two despatches were 
received from the Court of Directors, one written 
before, and the other written after, the news of the 
recapture of Fort William had reached England. 
In the first, orders were given for the appointment 
of a Council consisting of five members, of which 
Clive was to be the President. In the second, 
which arrived a few months later, but which was 
written before the news of Plassev had been re- 


ceived, a Council of ten was nominated, and it 
was laid down that the office of President should 
be held by the four senior members in rotation for 
three months. In this despatch Clive's name was 
entirely omitted ; but the nominated members had 
the sense to see the absurdity of the proposed 
arrangement, and to feel that they could not carry 
on the government without him. They accord- 
ingly pressed him to undertake the presidency of 
the Council pending further orders from home. 
Clive, naturally much affronted by the slight 
which had been put upon him by the Court of 
Directors, hesitated at first to undertake the office ; 
but the general feeling in favour of his being placed 
at the head of the Government was so strong that 
he yielded, and assumed the office of President. 
Before the report of these proceedings reached 
England, the Court of Directors, on hearing of 
Plassey, anticipated the views of the Bengal 
Council, and appointed Clive Governor of Bengal. 
The absurdity of the rotation plan is sufficiently 
manifest in these days ; but in the time of Clive, 
when the English in India were only just begin- 
ning to emerge from the position of traders to 
that of territorial rulers, it was probably regarded 
from a very different point of view. The omission 
of Clive's name from the list of members of the new 
Council has been accounted for in different ways. 
One theory is that when the appointments were 



made, it was supposed that before they could reach 
India Clive would have returned to Madras. 
Another, and perhaps the more probable one, was that 
his exclusion was due to jealousy at the East India 
House of his commanding powers, such as was felt 
some years later, when, before his last return to 
Bengal, considerable opposition was offered by some 
of the Directors to his reappointment to the 
Government. On this occasion, however, the 
opposition, from whatever cause it may have 
arisen, was completely silenced by the news of 
the victory of Plassey. 

In the meantime other circumstances arose 
which delayed Clive's return to Madras. One 
was a threatened invasion of Behar, the North- 
western Province of Bengal, by the eldest son 
of the Emperor of Delhi, commonly known as the 
Shahzada, who, having quarrelled with his father 
and escaped from Delhi, had gathered round him 
a large but undisciplined force, and laid siege to 
Patna. He had hopes of aid from the Nawab of 
Oudh, whose state bordered upon Behar, but these 
hopes were disappointed. Still, the situation was 
not otherwise than alarming, and the Nawab in his 
difficulty implored Clive to aid in extricating him 
from this new danger. Clive, feeling bound to 
support the Prince whom he had placed upon the 
throne, responded to the appeal, and although it 
compelled him almost to denude Calcutta of troops, 


he despatched a detachment to Patna, following 
himself in a few days with all his available 

Ram Narayan, the Governor of Behar, who had 
been a loyal supporter of Suraj ud Daulah, after his 
death had submitted to Mir Jafar. Subsequently, 
owing to the oppression of the latter, he had rebelled 
against him, but under the influence of Clive had 
resumed his allegiance, which had somewhat wavered 
when the Shahzada appeared before Patna. After 
a visit to the Shahzada's camp, however, he had 
determined to adhere to the Nawab, and had made 
a resolute defence of Patna. This was the position 
of affairs when the detachment sent by Clive 
appeared before that place. The news of its arrival, 
and the intelligence that Clive was coming, produced 
such an effect that the Shahzada's army at once 
retired and dispersed. The Shahzada appealing to 
Clive for aid, and afterwards for money, to enable him 
to effect his retreat, Clive sent him a present of 
eight thousand rupees ; but stated that he was 
unable to help him in his operations against the 
Nawab, having received repeated orders from the 
Emperor not only to oppose him, but to lay hold of 
his person. Clive concluded with these significant 
words : c I have only to recommend your Highness 
to the Almighty's protection. I wish to God it were 
in my power to protect you, but it is not. I am 
now on my march to the Karamnassa, and earnestly 


recommend it to you to withdraw before I arrive 

Clive's intervention on these occasions was for 
the moment greatly appreciated by Mir Jafar, who 
manifested his gratitude by conferring upon Clive as 
a Jaglr the quit - rent, variously computed from 
^27,000 to ^30,000 a year, which was payable by 
the East India Company on lands which had been 
ceded to them in the neighbourhood of Calcutta. 
This grant was made ostensibly for the support of 
the title which had been conferred upon Clive by 
the Emperor of Delhi. It was really given as a 
return for the great services which Clive had ren- 
dered to the Nawab by suppressing the rebellion of 
his nobles and by protecting him from the invasion 
of the Shahzada. It was much criticised in after 
years, and not altogether without reason. It is 
perfectly true, as Macaulay remarks, making what 
seems to be a somewhat questionable distinction 
between this grant and the presents which Clive 
accepted from the Nawab after Plassey, that it 
was a 'present which, from its very nature, could 
be no secret. In fact, the Company itself was his 
tenant, and by its acquiescence signified its appro- 
bation of Mir Jafar's grant/ Still, it was clearly open 
to the objection in principle that a general ought not 
to accept presents from a foreign ruler without the 
express permission of his own Government. More- 
over, the fact that the grant made the Government 


the tenants of their subordinate, however much its 
nature rendered it impossible of concealment, was 
surely on general grounds of public policy an 
objectionable feature in the transaction. 







Although Clive felt that it would not be right for 
him to leave Bengal in the circumstances which then 
existed, he was by no means indifferent to the situa- 
tion of his old Presidency. The course which he 
took was very similar to that which, on his advice, 
had been adopted seven years before to relieve the 
garrison of Trichinopoly, when a small force was 
sent to create a diversion by taking Arcot. In the 
present instance Clive resolved to create a diversion 
by despatching a force to the Northern Sirkars, which 
were then in the hands of the French. Just at that 
time Bussy had been recalled by Lally from the 
Dekhan. One of the leading chiefs in the Northern 
Sirkars, Ananduraz Gajapati, then the head of the 
family now represented by the Rajas of Vizianagram, 
had rebelled against the French, and had made over- 


tures both to the authorities at Madras and to Clive 
to aid him in wresting the Northern Sirkars from the 
French. The districts so named included the present 
districts of Ganjam Vizagaputam, Godavari, Krishna 
and Guntur. They possessed an area of about seventeen 
thousand geographical miles, and contained important 
manufactures and considerable agricultural wealth. 
According to Orme, they ' rendered the French 
masters of the greatest dominion both in extent 
and value that had ever been possessed in Hindustan 
by Europeans, not excepting the Portuguese at the 
height of their prosperity.' The result of Clive's 
policy, which at the time was much opposed by his 
colleagues in the Bengal Council, was not only to 
create a diversion which rendered material help to 
the English in resisting French aggression in the 
Carnatic, but eventually to place the whole of this 
important territory under English rule. The officer 
whom Clive selected for the duty was Colonel Francis 
Forde, an officer belonging to the 39th Foot, senior 
to Colonel Eyre Coote, who belonged to the same 
regiment. Clive had formed a very high opinion of 
Forde, and appears to have considered him an abler 
man than Coote. By some, Clive's preference for 
Forde was attributed to prejudice caused by the 
dispute with Watson when Fort William was re- 
captured, and when Coote, acting under Watson's 
orders, refused to deliver the fort up to Clive. Be 
this as it may, there can be no doubt that Forde 


was a very able officer, and performed the duty which 
was now entrusted to him with brilliant success. 
With a force of 500 Europeans, 2000 Sepoys, many 
of them Rajputs, whom Clive had begun to enlist, 
and twelve guns, Forde landed at Vizagapatam on the 
14th October 1758, and after defeating the French 
under the Marquis de Conflans (who had succeeded 
Bussy in the Dekhan), in a battle fought at Kondur, 
and taking Rajahmundry and all the baggage of the 
French army, proceeded to lay siege to Masulipatam. 
Masulipatam was at that time the strongest position 
on the eastern coast of India. Forde, in his very 
brief report upon its capture, described it as c by far 
the strongest situation in India.' x The fort stood 
about a mile and a half from the sea shore, on 
the edge of an inlet of the sea upwards of five 
hundred yards in breadth, and surrounded on three 
sides by a morass of considerable extent, varying in 
depth from three to eighteen feet. The works were 
strong, and the garrison in numerical strength ex- 
ceeded the besieging force. The battle of Kondur 
had been fought, not without a considerable loss to 
Forde's force in killed and wounded, and it was 
essential that Masulipatam should be taken before 
the French were reinforced either from Pondicherry 
or by the troops of Salabatjung, the Subahdar of the 
Dekhan, who was still in alliance with the French. 

1 See Colonel Wilson's History of the Madras Army, vol. i., p. 129. 


In prosecuting the siege, Forde was greatly hindered 
by want of money. Ananduraz Gajapati, who had 
promised to supply money as well as men, failed for 
several weeks to provide any of the former, and it was 
not until the 7th March, after a delay of fifty days, 
that Forde was in a position to invest the fort. It 
took him from that day to the 25th to erect his 
batteries. During all this time his men were with- 
out pay, and on the 19th the English troops mutinied 
and threatened to march away. It was only upon 
Forde assuring them that the money was on its way 
from Bengal that they were persuaded to return to 
their duties. Meanwhile, Salabat Jung had arrived 
at Bezwada, forty-four miles from Masulipatam, with 
a force of 40,000 men, and a French force under 
M. du Rocher was moving towards Rajamundry and 
threatening Vizagapatam. On the 5th April there 
fell heavy rain, which added greatly to the difficulty 
of the morass, and on the same day the senior artillery 
officer reported that the ammunition in store was only 
sufficient for two days' service of the batteries. Forde's 
force had been reduced, partly by sickness, partly by 
his losses at Kondur, to about 400 Europeans and 
1400 Sepoys. In these circumstances he decided that 
his only chance was to make an immediate assault. 
This was delivered on the night of the 7th April, 
and after a keen struggle which lasted some hours, 
Conflans, with his garrison, consisting of 500 
Europeans, 2537 Sepoys and 120 guns, surrendered 


at discretion. The loss to Forde's force was 84 
killed and wounded, among whom two of the killed 
were British officers. The victory gained for the 
English the possession of the five districts before 
mentioned, the formal cession of which seven years 
later was made bv the Nizam. It also involved the 
transfer of the paramount influence at the Court of 
Hyderabad from the French to the English. It 
effectually served Clive's purpose of detaining in 
the Dekhan a large body of French troops who 
would otherwise have been available for the siege 
of Madras. Colonel Malleson, in his Fifteen Decisive 
Battles of India, treating the fight at Kondiir and the 
siege of Masulipatam as two parts of one operation, 
remarks that ' few battles have produced more brilliant 
results. If Kaveripak was the turning-point in the 
contest between the French and English for the 
possession of Southern India south of the Krishna, 
the capture of Masulipatam most assuredly secured 
for them the authority they now command and the 
influence they now exercise in the provinces lying 
between that river and the Vindhayan range.' 

A few months later Forde was employed by Clive 
upon another important duty, in which he again 
justified the high opinion which Clive had formed 
of him. Mir Jafar, very soon after he was seated on 
the Masnad, had begun to resent the great influence 
of Clive, and to look about for some means of 
weakening that influence, and placing himself in a 


position of greater independence. With this object, 
in November 1758 he had entered into secret negotia- 
tions with the Dutch, who had suffered in their trade 
from the ascendency of the English in Bengal, and 
although Great Britain and Holland were at that 
time at peace, the representatives of the Dutch at 
Batavia had collected ships and troops for a movement 
into the Hughli. After Clive's march upon Patna, 
Mfr Jafar seems to have felt some shame at the 
treachery of which he had been guilty, and in July 
1759 he gave notice to Warren Hastings, then the 
Resident at Murshidabad, that the Dutch were in 
league with the Nawab of Oudh, and were fitting 
out an expedition which was destined for Chinsurah, 
a Dutch settlement on the Hughli, near the town 
of that name. In October, seven Dutch ships, filled 
with Dutch and Malay troops, anchored at the mouth 
of the Hughli. It speedily became manifest that the 
object with which this expedition had been organised, 
was hostile to the English, and that Mir Jafar, having 
shaken off his short-lived gratitude to Clive, was in 
league with the Dutch. Clive was equal to the 
occasion. He strengthened the batteries which com- 
manded the most important passages in the river near 
the town. He mounted heavy guns on the fort. 
He despatched special messengers to call in all avail- 
able men from the outposts. Of four English vessels 
in the river, he despatched the smallest to summon 
Admiral Cornish, then cruising off the Arakan coast, 


to come to his aid, and ordered the other three to 
assist in the defence of the town. He called out 
300 militia, five-sixths of whom were Europeans ; 
he formed half a troop of horse, and enlisted a 
small body of infantry volunteers. At this critical 
juncture Forde, accompanied by Captain Knox, 
who had taken a distinguished part in the siege of 
Masulipatam, returned to Calcutta. Clive at once 
placed Forde in command of the whole available 
force, assigning to Knox the charge of certain 
batteries below Fort William. In the second week 
of November, the Dutch sent a memorandum to Fort 
William stating their grievances and threatening 
reprisals, to which Clive replied that all that had 
taken place was done by direction of the Nawab, and 
with the authority of the Emperor, and referred them 
to the Nawab. The tenor of Clive's reply appears to 
have enraged the Dutch, who at once attacked and 
captured some small English ships lying near the 
mouth of the river, tore down the English colours, 
and transferred the guns and stores to their own ships. 
Thev then landed troops at Falta and Raipur, and 
burnt the houses and effects of the English agents. 
Clive had been somewhat perplexed as to what course 
he should take in case the Dutch should advance up 
the river, the two nations being at peace in Europe ; 
but these outrages solved his doubts. Forde, by his 
orders, occupied the Dutch factory at Baranagar, on 
the left bank of the river, and then crossing over 


to Serampur, on the right bank, marched thence to 
Chandernagore, in order to intercept the Dutch troops 
in case they should attempt to reach Chinsurah by 
land. Captain Wilson, in command of the three East 
Indiamen, all of which carried guns, was directed to 
attack the Dutch ships if they persisted in passing up 
the river. Clive's orders were c to demand restitu- 
tion of our ships, subjects and property, or to sink, 
burn and destroy the Dutch ships on their refusal.' 
Wilson made the demand, and was refused. He then 
with his three ships, mounting 90 guns, attacked the 
seven Dutch ships, which mounted 212 guns, and 
after a sharp action captured six of them. The 
seventh escaped down the river, but was captured at 
the mouth of the Hughli by two English ships. 
Before this action was fought, the Dutch ships had 
landed their soldiers. Forde, meanwhile, had en- 
countered and defeated the garrison of Chinsurah, 
which had come out to the ruins of Chandernao-ore. 
He then awaited the arrival of the Dutch troops, 
which had landed from their ships. These last he 
met on the plain of Biderra, a small village near 
Chinsurah, and beat them in half an hour, driving 
them up to the walls of Chinsurah and capturing all 
their guns. In connection with this last engagement, 
a characteristic story is told of Clive. Forde, on 
hearing that the Dutch were advancing, sent by 
express a note to Clive and asked for an order of 
Council authorising him to attack them. Clive was 


playing at whist when the note arrived, and without 
rising from the table, wrote on the back of the note : 
c Dear Forde, — Fight them immediately. I will send 
you the order of Council to-morrow.' 

The result of these victories was that the Dutch 
sued for peace, and three days afterwards were obliged 
to apply to Clive for protection against a body of 
6000 cavalry which the Nawab's son, Miran, had 
brought down to Chinsurah with the intention of 
using against the English ; but which, on learning 
the turn affairs had taken, he was about to employ 
in exterminating the Dutch. Clive showed great 
prudence and moderation, and also true patriotism, in 
the whole of this affair. After having defeated the 
Dutch, he treated them with generous consideration, 
and his mediation with the Nawab averted the attack 
which the young Prince was about to make upon 
them. He secured the interests of his own country 
by exacting from the Dutch an engagement never 
to maintain more than 125 European soldiers in 
Bengal, and to pay all the costs and damages caused 
by the expedition. During the whole of this time 
.£180,000 of his private fortune was in the hands of 
the Dutch East India Company. An investigation 
into the affair was subsequently held in Europe by 
commissioners deputed by the two nations, who 
acquitted Clive of all blame, and both the British 
Government and the Directors of the East India Com- 
pany in London expressed high approval of his action. 


The time of Clive's return to England was now 
approaching. Before his departure he endeavoured 
to secure the appointment of Forde to command 
the army in Bengal, but this the Court of Directors 
for some unknown reason declined to sanction. Ten 
years later, Forde, on Clive's recommendation, was 
sent back to India as one of three supervisors who 
were appointed to inquire into every department of 
Indian administration. The frigate in which they 
sailed touched at the Cape on the 27th September 
1769, and was never heard of again. It has been 
suggested that Clive's pertinacity in endeavouring 
to promote the interests of Forde was one of the 
chief causes of the estrangement which, after Clive's 
return to England, arose between him and Lawrence 
Sullivan, a leading member of the Court of Directors, 
with whom he was on friendly terms both before and 
for some little while after his return home. Coote 
had visited England before Clive's return, and 
Sullivan, it was said, was much impressed by him, 
and owing to his preference for Coote induced his 
brother Directors to ignore the claims of Forde. 
They were both very able soldiers, but there can be 
no doubt that, after Forde's brilliant conduct of the 
siege of Masulipatam and the results of that siege, 
it was not creditable to his countrymen that his 
services should have been left, as they were, entirely 
unrecognised. In these days of decorations, bestowed 
with a lavish hand, and too often given for services 


of a very mediocre quality, an attentive student of 
Indian history is amazed to learn that Forde was 
allowed to go to his grave without having received 
a decoration or honours of any description. 








During all this time Clive had not failed to 
bestow very close attention upon the affairs of 
Madras. Lally, as we have said, had landed at 
Pondicherry in 1758, and had shortly afterwards 
sent a force against Fort St David, which after a 
very weak defence capitulated, the garrison sur- 
rendering as prisoners of war. Clive was highly 
indignant at this surrender, and in writing to his 
friend Stringer Lawrence, expressed in no measured 
terms his contempt for the poltroonery of the garrison. 
Lally afterwards laid siege to Madras, but receiv- 
ing no support from the French Admiral, and having 
no money to pay his troops, was obliged to raise 
the siege in about two months. In the following 
year, 1760, just before Clive left India, Coote, who 


had been sent to Madras, defeated the French at Wan- 
diwash, and a year later Pondicherry surrendered. 

Before embarking for England, Clive was again 
called upon to repel an invasion of Behar by the 
Shahzada. This was done under his orders by Major 
Calliaud, who had been sent up from Madras with 
reinforcements. After bidding farewell to the 
Nawab at Murshidabad, Clive returned to Calcutta 
on the 14th January 1760, and on the 25th of the 
following month he embarked for England, leaving 
the Government in the hands of Mr Holwell, 
pending the arrival from Madras of Mr Vansittart, 
who had been appointed to succeed him. 

Clive had for some time entertained a very 
unfavourable opinion of the administrative capacity 
of the Court of Directors, and in a letter to the 
elder Pitt, dated the 7th January 1759, he had 
suggested, though in somewhat guarded language, 
the expediency of transferring to the Crown the 
supreme control of the administration of Indian 
affairs, thus anticipating by nearly a century the 
measure which, after the Mutiny of 1857, was 
carried out by the Government of Lord Derby. 

The following is the text of the letter : — 

' To the Rt. Honble. William Pitt, one of His 

Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State. 
' Sir, — Suffer an admirer of yours at this distance 
to congratulate himself on the glory and advantage 


which are likely to accrue to the nation by your 
being at its head, and at the same time to return 
his most grateful thanks for the distinguished 
manner you have been pleased to speak of his 
successes in these parts, far indeed beyond his 

c The close attention you bestow on the affairs 
of the British nation in general has induced me 
to trouble you with a few particulars relative to 
India, and to lay before you an exact account of 
the revenues of this country, the genuineness you 
may depend upon, as it has been faithfully ex- 
tracted from the Minister's books. 

4 The great revolution that has been effected 
here by the success of the English arms, and the 
vast advantages gained to the Company by a treaty 
concluded in consequence thereof, have, I observe, 
in some measure engaged the public attention ; but 
much more may yet in time be done if the 
Company will yet exert themselves in the manner 
the importance of their present possessions and 
future prospects deserves. I have represented to 
them in the strongest terms the expediency of 
sending out and keeping up constantly such a 
force as will enable them to embrace the first 
opportunity of further aggrandising themselves ; 
and I dare pronounce, from a thorough knowledge 
of this country government, and of the genius of 
the people, acquired by two years' application and 


experience, that such an opportunity will soon 
offer. The reigning Subah whom the victory at 
Plassey invested with the sovereignty of these 
Provinces still, it is true, retains his attachment 
to us, and probably, while he has no other sup- 
port, will continue to do so ; but Mussulmans are 
so little influenced by gratitude that, should he 
ever think it his interest to break with us, the 
obligations he owes us would prove no restraint : 
and this is very evident from his having lately 
removed his Prime Minister and cut off two or 
three principal officers, all attached to our interest, 
and who had a share in his elevation. Moreover, 
he is advanced in years, and his son is so cruel 
and worthless a young fellow, and so apparently 
an enemy to the English, that it will be almost 
unsafe trusting him with the succession. So small 
a body as 2000 Europeans will secure us from 
any apprehensions from either the one or the 
other ; and in case of their daring to be trouble- 
some, enable the Company to take the sovereignty 
upon themselves. 

'There will be the less difficulty in bringing 
about such an event, as the natives themselves 
have no attachment whatever to particular princes ; 
and as under the present Government they have 
no security for their lives or properties, they would 
rejoice in so happy an exchange as that of a mild 
for a despotic government ; and there is little 


room to doubt our easily obtaining the Mogul's 
sunnud (or grant) in confirmation thereof, provided 
we agreed to pay him the stipulated allotment out 
of the revenues, viz., fifty lakhs annually. 

'This has of late years been very ill-paid, owing 
to the distractions in the heart of the Moghul 
Empire, which have disabled that court from 
attending to their concerns in the distant pro- 
vinces ; and the Vazir has actually wrote to me, 
desiring I would engage the Nawab to make the 
payments agreeable to the former usage ; nay, 
further, application has been made to me from 
the Court of Delhi to take charge of collecting 
this payment, the person entrusted with which is 
styled the King's Diwan, and is the next person 
both in dignity and power to the Subah. But 
this high office I have been obliged to decline for 
the present, as I am unwilling to occasion any 
jealousy on the part of the Subah ; especially as I 
see no likelihood of the Company's providing us with 
a sufficient force to support properly so considerable 
an employ, and which would open a way to secure 
the Subahship for ourselves. That this would be 
agreeable to the Moghul can hardly be questioned, 
as it would be so much to his interest to have 
these countries under the dominion of a nation 
famed for their good faith, rather than in the 
hands of people who, a long experience has con- 
vinced him, never will pay him his proportion of 


the revenues unless awed into it by the fear 
of the Imperial army marching to force them 

c But so large a sovereignty may possibly be an 
object too extensive for a mercantile company ; and 
it is to be feared they are not of themselves able, 
without the nation's assistance, to maintain so wide 
a dominion. I have therefore presumed, sir, to 
represent this matter to you, and submit it to 
your consideration, whether the execution of a 
design that may hereafter be still carried to 
greater lengths, be worthy of the Government's 
taking it into hand. I flatter myself I have made 
it pretty clear to you that there will be little or 
no difficulty in obtaining the absolute possession of 
these rich kingdoms ; and that with the Moghul's 
own consent, on condition of paying him less than 
a fifth of the revenues thereof. Now I leave you 
to judge whether an income yearly of upwards of 
two millions sterling, with the possession of three 
provinces abounding in the most valuable produc- 
tions of nature and of art, be an object deserving 
the public attention ; and whether it be worth the 
nation's while to take the proper measures to 
secure such an acquisition ; an acquisition which, 
under the management of so able and disinterested 
a Minister, would prove a source of immense 
wealth to the kingdom, and might in time be 
appropriated in part as a fund towards diminishing 


the heavy load of debt under which we at present 
labour. Add to these advantages the influence we 
shall thereby acquire over the several European 
nations engaged in the commerce here, which 
these could no longer carry on but through our 
indulgence, and under such limitations as we 
should think fit to prescribe. It is well worthy 
consideration that this project may be brought 
about without draining the mother country, as 
has been too much the case with our possessions 
in America. A small force from home will be 
sufficient, as we always make sure of any number 
we please of black troops, who, being both much 
better paid and treated by us than by the country 
powers, will very readily enter into our service. 
Mr Walsh, who will have the honour of deliver- 
ing to you this, having been my Secretary during 
the late fortunate expedition, is a thorough master 
of the subject, and will be able to explain to you 
the whole design, and the facility with which it 
may be executed, much more to your satisfaction 
and with greater perspicuity than can possibly be 
done in a letter. I shall therefore only further 
remark that I have communicated it to no other 
person but yourself; nor should I have troubled 
you, sir, but from a conviction that you will give 
a favourable reception to any proposal intended 
for the public good. 

1 The greatest part of the troops belonging to 


this establishment are now employed in an expedi- 
tion against the French in the Delchan ; and by 
the accounts lately received from thence, I have 
great hopes we shall succeed in extirpating them 
from the Province of Golconda, where they have 
reigned lords paramount so long, and from whence 
they have drawn their principal resources during 
the troubles upon the coast, 

1 Notwithstanding the extraordinary effort made 
by the French in sending M. Lally with a con- 
siderable force the last year, I am confident before 
the end of this they will be near their last gasp 
in the Carnatic, unless some very unforeseen event 
interfere in their favour. The superiority of our 
squadron, and the plenty of money and supplies of 
all kinds which our friends on the coast will be 
furnished with from this province, while the 
enemy are in total want of everything, without 
any visible means of redress, cannot fail of wholly 
effecting their ruin in that, as well as in every 
other part of India. 

i May the zeal and the vigorous measures pro- 
jected for the service of the nation which have 
so eminently distinguished your Ministry be 
crowned with all the success they deserve, is 
the most fervent wish of him who is, with the 
greatest respect, sir, your most devoted humble 
servant, Rob. Clive. 

'Calcutta, yth January 1759.' 


Clive's last act before resigning the government 
was to draft a letter to the Court of Directors, in 
which he roundly rated them for c the unprovoked 
and general asperity ' of a dispatch which had been 
received from them. This letter, which was signed 
by Clive and a majority of his colleagues, was 
couched in language seldom used by subordinate 
officials, however high in rank, when addressing their 
official superiors. It characterised the diction of 
the Court's dispatch as 'most unworthy of yourselves 
and us, in whatever relation considered, either as 
masters to servants or as gentlemen to gentlemen.' 
It alleged that ' groundless informations ' proceeding 
from persons who had obviously their own interests 
to serve, had received from the Court c countenance 
and encouragement ' to the detriment of the public 

The terms of this letter are so remarkable that 
it seems desirable to append in full the obnoxious 
paragraph : — 

1 Having fully spoken to every branch of your 
affairs at this Presidency, under their established heads, 
we cannot, consistent with the real anxiety we feel 
for the future welfare of that respectable body from 
whom you and we are in trust, close this address 
without expostulating with freedom on the unpro- 
voked and general asperity of your letter per Prince 
Henry packet. Our sentiments on this head will, 


we doubt not, acquire additional weight from the 
consideration of their being subscribed by a majority 
of your Council, who are at this very period quitting 
your service, and consequently independent and dis- 
interested. Permit us to say that the diction of your 
letter is most unworthy yourselves and us, in whatever 
relation considered, either as masters to servants or 
gentlemen to gentlemen. Mere inadvertences, and 
casual neglects arising from an unavoidable and most 
complicated confusion in the state of your affairs, 
have been treated in such language and sentiments 
as nothing but the most glaring and premeditated 
faults could warrant. Groundless informations have 
without further scrutiny borne with you the stamp 
of truth, though proceeding from those who had 
therein obviously their own purpose to serve, no 
matter at whose expense. These have received 
from you such countenance and encouragement 
as must most assuredly tend to cool the warmest 
zeal of your servants here and everywhere else ; as 
they will appear to have been only the source of 
general reflections, thrown out at random against 
your faithful servants of this Presidency, in various 
parts of your letter now before us — faithful to little 
purpose if the breath of scandal, joined to private 
pique or private or personal attachments, have power 
to blow away in one hour the merits of many years 5 
services, and deprive them of that rank and those 
rising benefits which are justly a spur to their integ- 


rity and application. The little attention shown 
to these considerations in the indiscriminate favours 
heaped on some individuals, and undeserved censures 
on others, will, we apprehend, lessen that spirit of zeal 
so very essential to the well-being of your affairs, 
and consequently in the end, if continued, prove 
the destruction of them. Private views may, it is 
much to be feared, take the lead here from examples 
at home ; and no gentleman hold your service longer, 
nor exert themselves further in it, than their own 
exigencies require. This being the real present state 
of your service, it becomes strictly our duty to re- 
present it in the strongest light, or we should with 
little truth and less propriety subscribe ourselves, 
may it please your honours, your most faithful 

i Robert Clive. 

'J. Z. Holwell. 

' Wm. B. Sumner. 

' W. M'Guire.' 

The language of the letter was not unnaturally 
resented by the Court, who promptly dismissed from 
their service all the members of the Council still 
in India who had signed it, including Mr Holwell, 
who had temporarily succeeded to the office of 














Clive reached England in the autumn of 1760. 
The exact date of his arrival does not appear to be 
known ; but it seems to have been very shortly 
after the accession of George III. The reception 
which he met with was even more enthusiastic than 
that which had greeted him on his return from 
India a ftw years before. The victor of Plassey 


was even more welcome than the hero of Arcot. 
He was received with distinction by the young 
King and his Ministers, and also by the Court of 
Directors of the East India Company, notwithstand- 
ing the letter which had given so much offence. 
The Directors during his absence had placed a 
statue of him in the East India House, and had 
struck a medal in his honour. The estimation in 
which he was held by the authorities was fully shared 
by the country. His successes as a soldier had been 
unchequered by defeat. He was the first of the 
soldier-statesmen of whom India has produced so 
many. He had proved that he was as wise in 
council as he was brave and able in the field. His 
moderation in the hour of victory, as shown by 
his treatment of the Dutch, had made a great 
impression upon thoughtful men, not led away by 
the glamour of military achievements. The only 
real blots upon his fame, arising from his conduct 
towards Omichand and from his acceptance of an 
enormous fortune from the Nawab whom he had 
placed upon the throne of Bengal, had not, it would 
seem, attracted the attention which they did a few 
years later, when they furnished the ground for 
attacks which embittered his latter years, and drove 
him in the end to a self-inflicted death. Not only 
had his success, both as a soldier and an administrator, 
been conspicuous, but it had been achieved at a 
time when, with the exception of Wolfe, England 


had possessed no general since Marlborough whose 
capacity could be compared with that of Clive. If 
the Englishmen of that time could have known 
what was about to happen a few years later, they 
would have seen that while by the genius of Clive 
we were acquiring a great Empire in the East, 
we were, owing to the incompetency and obstinacy 
of the King's Ministers, losing our great Colonial 
Empire in the West. 

Notwithstanding the very gratifying reception 
which was given to Clive on his arrival, he was in 
some respects doomed to disappointment. He had 
fully expected that an English peerage would be 
conferred upon him ; but two years elapsed before 
he was raised to the peerage, and then it was only 
an Irish peerage that was given to him ; and it 
was not until 1764 that he was admitted to the 
Order of the Bath. These delays must be in part 
attributed to his having been attacked shortly 
after his return by a dangerous illness, which for 
more than a year entirely incapacitated him from 
business ; but they were also partly owing to 
personal jealousy of his fame on the part of some 
of those connected with Indian affairs. Reference 
has been made to the very strong letter of remon- 
strance against the style of correspondence adopted 
by the Court of Directors which he caused to be 
sent to the East India House shortly before he left 
India. Although the resentment aroused by this 


letter was not allowed to interfere with the re- 
ception accorded to Clive by his late masters at 
a time when the popular voice was so strongly 
in his favour, it was not without its effect when 
the first impressions created by his extraordinary 
achievements had in some measure subsided ; and 
among the Directors there were some who never 
forgave the language of that letter. Foremost 
among these was Lawrence Sullivan, one of the 
ablest members of the Court, and probably the 
most ambitious. While Clive was still in India, 
Sullivan was among his warmest admirers. He was 
one of the few members of the Direction who had 
any personal knowledge of India, and Clive had 
formed and expressed a high opinion of his capacity. 
Indeed, he had rendered some help to Sullivan in 
his candidature for the chairmanship of the Court 
at a recent election. But when Clive returned 
to England, and the praise of his extraordinary 
successes was on everybody's lips, and when it 
was seen that the great Minister of the time 
extolled his merits and pronounced him to be 
the one man who had saved ' our glory, honour and 
reputation,' then Sullivan's admiration speedily under- 
went a change, and was succeeded by a lasting 
jealousy of Clive's influence. Moreover, Clive's 
letter to Pitt, which has been already quoted, had 
not been kept secret, and not unnaturally the 
suggestion made in it, that the day might not be 


far distant when the supreme control over Indian 
affairs would have to be transferred to the Crown, 
was by no means acceptable in Leadenhall Street. 
This suggestion, as we have said, was not fully 
carried out for nearly a century ; but there can be 
no doubt that it considerably influenced the legis- 
lation regarding India at a much earlier date. The 
India Bills, both of Charles Fox and of William 
Pitt, and -the establishment under the latter of 
the Board of Control, may both be said to have 
owed their origin to Clive's letter to the elder 

Clive's endeavours to obtain a suitable recognition 
of the services rendered by Forde, and the urgency 
with which he pressed reforms in the administrative 
system, both civil and military, also seem to have 
intensified Sullivan's hostility. Clive was much 
impressed with the necessity of improving and 
strengthening the Civil Service. He wanted young 
men of ability sent out, and in larger numbers. He 
urged the importance of maintaining a strong military 
force. He advocated the grant of Royal commis- 
sions, as Major-Generals, to the Governors of the 
three Presidencies, as a check upon the pretensions 
of the King's military officers. His opinions on 
most public questions were much in advance of his 
time, and were consequently not acceptable to persons 
holding more limited views. The political situation 
in England at the time was also a cause of Sullivan's 


hostility. Very shortly after his return to England, 
Clive was elected member for Shrewsbury, and on 
entering the House of Commons at once ranged 
himself among the followers of Pitt, for whose 
genius and character he had the warmest admiration. 
Pitt, however, resigned office in October 1761, and 
after a short interval was succeeded by Bute, of 
whom Sullivan was a follower, but whom Clive 
absolutely declined to join. He speedily attached 
himself to George Grenville, with whose political 
views he in the main concurred, and with whom he 
remained on terms of intimacy until the death of 
the latter. In entering Parliament, Clive does not 
seem to have been actuated by any desire to take 
an active part in English politics, except in so far 
as his position as a member might strengthen his 
influence over Indian administration. To promote 
the welfare of India and the efficiency of its 
Government appears to have been the main object 
of his ambition. With this object he expended a 
large sum of money (£100,000 is the sum stated) 
in acquiring votes at the East India House, for 
friends upon whom he could rely to support 
his projects of reform. Every £500 of East India 
stock gave a vote at the Court of Proprietors, and 
£2000 was the qualification for a Director. In 
order to check his opposition, Sullivan at an early 
date caused it to be intimated to him that the 
question of his title to the Jagfr which Mir Jafar 



had conferred upon him was under consideration 
at the India House. The intimation was for the 
moment not without its effect ; for Clive felt that 
the loss of the Jagir, the annual income from which 
has been variously stated at from ^27,000 to ^30,000, 
would materially weaken his influence ; but very 
shortly afterwards the breach widened, and Sullivan, 
who, notwithstanding strong opposition offered by 
Clive and his friends, had been elected Chairman of 
the Court, persuaded the majority of his colleagues 
to send orders to Calcutta prohibiting any further 
payments to Clive on account of the Jagir. To this 
Clive at once replied by filing a bill in Chancery 
against the Directors, and by giving notice to 
the Government of Bengal that if they discon- 
tinued the annual payment to him, he should 
institute legal proceedings at Calcutta to enforce 
his claim. 

It is impossible to say what turn events might 
have taken if the state of affairs in Bengal had con- 
tinued in the position in which Clive had left them. 
In all probability Clive would in that case have 
been beaten in his contest with the India House, 
and would have retired into private life. But the 
position in Bengal rapidly assumed a phase which 
necessitated the strongest measures to put a stop to 
the abuses which had sprung up almost immediately 
after Clive left India. Vansittart, whom Clive had 
known at Madras, and who had been upon his re- 


commendation appointed to succeed him as Governor 
of Bengal, was fairly honest and well meaning, but 
by no means a strong man. Why Clive should 
have selected him as his successor it is difficult to 
understand. At that time there were two men in 
Bengal both of whom had stronger claims and far 
greater abilities than Vansittart. One was Watts, 
who, during the critical months which preceded 
Plassey, had in the most difficult situation shown 
great nerve and capacity, and had rendered most 
valuable services to Clive. The other was Warren 
Hastings, destined in a few years to occupy the 
position which Clive had held, and to become the 
first Governor-General of India. Hastings was the 
younger man of the two. When Clive left India in 
1760, Hastings was only twenty-seven ; but his youth 
can hardly have been the reason for rejecting him 
in favour of Vansittart. His age at that time was 
within a few months of that at which Clive had 
first left India after having established his fame as 
a soldier. The fact seems to have been that Clive, 
with a lack of discernment which he seldom evinced, 
had formed an impression that Hastings was some- 
what deficient in those qualities which afterwards 
proved to be his chief characteristics, viz., firmness 
and tenacity of purpose. 

Clive, when he left India in 1760, was by no 
means free from misgivings as to the immediate 
future. In a letter to his successor, written not 


long before he embarked, he observed that certain 
military reinforcements which were then expected 
would, in his opinion, ' put Bengal out of all danger 
but that of venality and corruption. ' The latter 
danger was not long in showing itself. Clive's 
temporary successor was Holwell, who, ever mindful 
of the sufferings he had undergone during that 
terrible night in the Black Hole, had long entertained 
an extreme dislike to Mir Jafar, and had determined 
to take the first opportunity of displacing him. The 
arrangements which he had made with this object 
were not completed when Vansittart took charge. 
But Vansittart quite fell in with Holwell's views, 
and about the time of Clive's arrival in England, Mfr 
Jafar was removed from the Nawabship, and his 
post was conferred upon his son-in-law, Kasim Ali 
Khan. This revolution, like the revolution of 1757, 
was not effected without the exaction of a large 
sum from the Bengal treasury. The members 
of the Select Committee were on this occasion paid 
^200,000, of which ^28,000 were received by 
Vansittart. Nor was this exaction by any means the 
only one to which the new Nawab was subjected 
during his brief occupancy of the Masnad. He 
agreed, on condition of a money payment, to cede 
to the English the three districts of Burdwan, 
Midnapur and Chittagong, besides certain advantages 
in the district of Sylhet, and to redeem by a cash 
payment the jewels of Mir Jafar, which had been 


received in part payment of the sum payable by the 
latter after Plassey. 

The tenure by Kdsim Ali of the Nawabship did 
not last long. Matters were brought to a crisis by 
the rapacity of the Council, and indeed of the Civil 
Service generally, in connection with the inland 
transit duties. It had been arranged that country 
goods, protected by an English pass, should be free 
from taxation. Such a rule was, of course, absolutely 
unjust to the native traders ; but it was the abuse 
of the rule which brought matters to a head. The 
English passes were openly sold, and were often 
forged. The system was ruinous to the honest 
native trader and to the revenues of the Nawab. 
The latter remonstrated ; but though supported by 
Vansittart and by Warren Hastings, he found the 
greatest difficulty in getting his remonstrance attended 
to. At last the Council empowered Vansittart to 
compromise the matter. The arrangement which 
was made was extremely advantageous to the 
English. While servants of the Company were to 
be allowed to carry on the inland private trade on 
payment of a fixed duty of nine per cent, on all 
goods, the native traders were to pay a duty of 
twenty-five per cent., and no passes were to be valid 
unless they were signed by an agent of the Company. 
Favourable as this compromise was to the English, 
and flagrantly unjust as it was to the native traders, 
and notwithstanding the fact that the Council had 


given full powers to Vansittart, a majority of the 
Council refused to ratify the engagement, and 
insisted that, except in the matter of the salt trade, 
on which they agreed to a duty of two and a half 
per cent., English private trade should be subjected 
to no duty whatever. 

The new Nawab was a very different man from 
his predecessor. He was clear-sighted and firm. On 
learning that the engagements which had been 
entered into by Vansittart, and had been executed 
in the most formal manner, were rejected by the 
Council, he at once issued orders abolishing all 
duties, and establishing free trade throughout Bengal. 
Thenceforth a declaration of war between the 
English and Kasim Ali was merely a question of 
time. The immediate cause of it was an attack 
which Mr Ellis, a violent, arbitrary man, who was 
a member of the Bengal Council, and head of the 
factory at Patna, made upon that city. It was 
seized, but immediately afterwards re-captured by 
the Nawab's troops. 

Ellis endeavoured to escape, but was taken prisoner, 
while Mr Amyatt, another member of the Council, 
who had been deputed by his colleagues to confer 
with the Nawab, was killed when attempting to 
escape. Kasim Ali, in anticipation of differences 
with the English, had taken steps very soon after his 
accession to strengthen his position. He had moved 
the seat of government from Murshidabad to Mungir, 


a place 320 miles from Calcutta, where he employed 
himself in re-forming and increasing his military 
forces. He had created a force of 15,000 cavalry and 
25,000 infantry, disciplined and organised on the 
model of the Company's troops. He had established 
the manufacture of muskets of an improved pattern, 
and had formed a foundry for casting cannon, and 
trained up a corps of artillerymen. He was a good 
man of business, and had placed the finances of Bengal 
upon a sound footing. Shortly after his accession he 
investigated the public accounts, compelled corrupt 
subordinates to disgorge their ill-gotten gains, and 
by enforcing the payment of all arrears of rent, and 
revising the land assessment, he increased the revenue 
and was thus enabled to discharge his obligations 
to the English. 

On hearing of Kasim Ali's recapture of Patna, 
the Council declared war against him, entrusting 
the command of the Company's troops to Major 
Adams, another officer from the 39th Foot, trained 
in the school of Clive. Three battles were fought, 
one at Katwa, close to Plassey, and the others at 
Gheriah and Andhwa Nala. The fights at Gheriah 
and Andhwa Nala were very severe, and proved that 
Kasim Ali's training of the Sepoys had enabled him 
to provide a formidable force. At Gheriah the issue 
was for some time very doubtful, and had it not 
been for the gallantry and strategical skill of Adams, 
the victory would have probably been won by Kasim 


Ali's troops. Andhwa Nala was also a hotly con- 
tested fight. The position of the enemy was ex- 
tremely strong by nature, and had been considerably 
strengthened under K&sim Ali's orders. In this 
case the victory was partly due to the treachery of 
an English deserter, who, after having deserted from 
the British and taken service under Kasim Ali, 
deserted back, and gave information to Adams of 
a ford through a morass, which enabled the latter to 
capture the key of the enemy's position, and thereby 
to win the battle. In these battles the superiority 
in the numerical strength of the forces engaged was, 
as at Plassey, and in almost all battles in India, largely 
on the side of the native troops. The defeat at 
Andhwa Nala compelled Kdsim Ali to flee into 
Oudh, but before his departure he gave orders for 
a massacre of the European prisoners who had been 
taken at and near Patna, including Ellis — a massacre 
which, according to Macaulay, surpassed in atrocity 
that of the Black Hole. Previous to this Kasim Ali 
had caused RAm Narayan, the able Governor of 
Patna, whom Vansittart had weakly placed in his 
power, and the Seths, who had been so helpful to 
Clive before and after Plassey, to be murdered. 

After Katwa, Mir Jafar was for the second time 
placed upon the throne, and for the second time was 
compelled to pay large sums to the Company and to 
the Company's servants, to confirm the cession of the 
three districts which had been ceded by Kasim Ali, 


and to reimpose the transit duties upon native traders, 
while exempting the servants of the Company. One 
of the most atrocious of the exactions to which he 
was subjected, was the payment of a large sum as 
compensation to the English for the losses which 
they had sustained in the war with Kasim Ali — a 
war entirely brought on by the criminal and tyran- 
nical acts of the Council. 

Some six months later, Bengal was again invaded 
by the Nawab of Oudh, acting in concert with 
Kasim Ali and with the Emperor Shah Alam, who, 
as Shahzada, had threatened Patna, but had withdrawn 
on the advance of Clive. This incursion, after a long 
campaign, was repelled by the Company's troops 
under the command of Major, afterwards Sir Hector, 
Munro, who at Buxar won a decisive victory over the 
combined forces arrayed against him. Here again 
the battle was won by the bravery of the small English 
contingent, numbering only 1200 men, supported by 
8000 native Sepoys, and led by an able and determined 
commander, against an army of 50,000 men, most or 
them well disciplined, and supported by a numerous 
artillery. After the battle, the Emperor abandoned 
his allies and joined the English camp. The Nawab 
of Oudh submitted, and Kasim Ali fled to Rohilkhand. 
The battle of Buxar may be regarded as in its results 
hardly, if at all, less important than Plassey. It is 
further remarkable as a victory won against heavy 
odds by troops of whom the native portion were in a 


state of mutiny very shortly before it was fought, and 
had to be coerced by the execution of twenty-four of 
the ringleaders, who were blown from guns. Buxar 
is justly included by Colonel Malleson among the 
decisive battles of India. 1 

During the whole of this time the affairs of the 
Company were going from bad to worse. While the 
Calcutta Council and their subordinates were en- 
riching themselves at the expense of the so-called 
rulers of Bengal and of their native subjects, the in- 
terests of the Company were being grossly neglected. 
Every ship which arrived from Calcutta brought in- 
telligence of the abuses which were being perpetrated, 
while the Company's investments were steadily falling 
off. Macaulay describes the misgovernment of the 
English during the five years which followed the 
departure of Clive from Bengal as having been carried 
to a point c such as seems hardly compatible with the 
very existence of society.' Revolution succeeded 
revolution, and 'at every one of these revolutions 
the new prince divided among his foreign masters 
whatever could be scraped together from the treasury 
of his fallen predecessors. The immense population 
of his dominions was given up as a prey to those who 
had made him a sovereign, and who could unmake 
him. The servants of the Company obtained, not 
for their employers, but for themselves, a monopoly of 

1 The Decisive Battles of India, from 1746 to 1849 inclusive. By Colonel 
G. B. Malleson, C.S.I. 


almost the whole internal trade. They forced the 
natives to buy dear and sell cheap. They insulted 
with impunity the tribunals, the police, and the fiscal 
authorities of the country. They covered with their 
protection a set of native dependents, who ranged 
through the provinces, spreading desolation and terror 
wherever they appeared. Every servant of a British 
factor was armed with all the power of his master, 
and his master was armed with all the power of the 
Company. Enormous fortunes were thus accumulated 
at Calcutta, while thirty millions of human beings 
were reduced to the extremity of wretchedness.' r 
Terrible as this picture is, there is no reason to believe 
that it is in any way exaggerated. 

The opinions recorded by the Court of Directors, 
after they had become acquainted with the actual facts, 
were in substance not less emphatic. In reply to a 
despatch written by Clive after his return to Bengal, 
they expressed their condemnation of what had been 
going on in these words : — 

1 When we look back to the system that Lord Clive 
and the gentlemen of the Select Committee found to 
be established, it presents to us a Subah (Nawab) 
disarmed, with a revenue of almost two millions 
sterling, for so much seems to have been left, exclusive 
of our demands upon him, at the mercy of our 
servants, who had adopted an unheard of ruinous 

1 Macaulay's Critical and Historical Essays in one volume, 1851, 
p. 521. 


principle of an interest distinc from the Company. 
This principle showed itself in laying hands upon 
everything they did not deem the Company's 

'In the province of Burdwan, the Resident and his 
Council took an annual stipend of near 80,000 rupees 
per annum from the Raja, in addition to the Com- 
pany's salary. This stands on the Burdwan accounts, 
and we fear was not the whole ; for we apprehend it 
went further, and that they carried this pernicious 
principle even to the sharing with the Raja of all 
he collected beyond the stipulated malguzdri, or land 
revenue, overlooking the point of duty to the Com- 
pany to whom properly everything belonged that 
was not necessary for the Raja's support. It has been 
the principle, too, on which our servants have falsely 
endeavoured to gloss over the crime of their proceed- 
ings on the accession of the present Subah ; and we 
fear would have been soon extended to the grasping 
of the greatest share of that part of the Nawab's 
revenue which was not allotted to the Company. In 
short, this principle was directly undermining the 
whole fabric; for whilst the Company were sinking 
under the burden of the war, our servants were en- 
riching themselves from those very funds that ought 
to have supported the war.' * 

Sir John Malcolm, after a long service in India, and 

1 Gleig's Life of C/ii>e, p. 191. 


possessing an intimate acquaintance with its people 
and with its history, states that ' there is no page in 
our Indian history which is so revolting as the four 
years of weak and inefficient rule of Mr Vansittart.' 
A more modern writer, the late Lord Justice James, 
in his admirable sketch of British Rule in India, 
writes of c the rampant misrule and uncontrolled 
license' which prevailed at this time in Bengal. 
The same writer characterises these years as ' the 
darkest in the history of British rule in India.' x To 
the same effect is the testimony of the native historian 
of the time. The Mahommadan author of the Siyar- 
ul-Mutakharin, while praising the bravery and the 
great military qualities of the English, goes on to 
say : * If to so many military qualifications ' this nation 
c knew how to join the arts of government, if they 
exerted as much ingenuity and solicitude in relieving 
the people of God as they do in whatever concerns 
their military affairs, no nation in the world would 
be preferable to them or worthier of command. O 
God, come to the assistance of Thine afflicted servants 
and deliver them from the oppressions which they 

When this state of things became known in 
England, the fears of the proprietors of India stock 
were seriously aroused. Very speedily there arose a 
demand for the reappointment of Clive as the only 

1 The British in India, by the late Right Hon. Sir William Melbourne 
James, Lord Justice of Appeal, pp. 36 and 40. 


man, either in England or in India, who was fit to 
cope with the evil. The alarm thus created origin- 
ated, it is to be feared, not so much in shame at the 
disgrace which was being inflicted upon the British 
name by the malpractices of the Company's servants, 
as in fears for the destruction of the Company's 
dividends. Sullivan and his friends in the Direction 
were of course opposed to the reappointment of Clive, 
and did what they could to prevent it ; but they 
were at once overruled by the Court of Proprietors, 
who, by an enormous majority, decided that Clive 
should be invited to return to India, not only as 
Governor of Bengal, but with authority over all the 
Company's possessions in the East. It was also pro- 
posed that Clive's Jagfr should be at once restored, 
and that Clive's right to it on a permanent tenure 
should be affirmed. On this point Clive made an 
alternative proposition which was readily accepted, 
viz., that his tenure of the Jagir should be confirmed 
to him for ten years, if he lived so long. But this 
concession did not, in his opinion, suffice unless another 
step were taken which would enable him to discharge 
in a satisfactory manner the important duties which 
it was proposed to entrust to him. This was no less 
than the removal of his enemy Sullivan from the 
chairmanship of the Company. Clive carried his 
point, but not without a struggle ; for Sullivan had 
several supporters among the Directors, and Bute, 
though not at that time in office, was able to exert 


considerable influence in his favour. The Proprietors, 
however, as a body, were determined that no obstacle 
should be allowed to stand in the way of Clive's 
acceptance of the government. It was in vain that 
Sullivan and his friends argued that the appointment 
of Clive would be unfair to more than one public 
servant in India, that it would be unjust to supersede 
Vansittart, whom they supposed to be still at the head 
of the government, and that Spencer, a Bombay civil 
servant who had been nominated to succeed Vansittart, 
ought not to be passed over. The Court of Proprietors 
refused, and indignantly refused, to listen to any of 
these arguments. 

The election of Directors took place in the spring, 
and Clive's opponents, finding that they could not 
prevail against the general desire that he should 
resume his post in India, endeavoured to hurry his 
departure in order that he might be out of the way 
when the impending election to the Direction took 
place. But Clive was determined, and was not to be 
shaken in his decision, to remain in England until the 
election was over, and when he was informed that a 
ship was available for him, he declined to sail, repeat- 
ing the conditions on which he had accepted the 
appointment. An attempt was then made to procure 
the annulment of his appointment ; but this failed. 
The election was held on the 25th April, and the 
result was less favourable to Clive than had been 
expected ; for out of the twenty-four Directors twelve 


were supporters of Clive and twelve of Sullivan ; but 
both the chairman and deputy-chairman were friends 
of Clive. In regard to the higher appointments in 
India, Clive's views were adopted with the single 
exception that Forde, whose claims to high military 
employment were unquestionable, would seem to have 
been again ignored. Whether Clive again pressed 
Forde's claims on this occasion does not clearly 
appear, but we know that it was at the instance 
of Clive that Forde in 1769 was sent out as one 
of the supervisors appointed to report upon and 
control Indian administration. 

After all that had taken place, it is not surprising 
that the Bengal Council, as then composed, com- 
manded little or no confidence. In these circum- 
stances Clive urged that he should be invested with 
power to overrule the Council on his own responsi- 
bility whenever he deemed it necessary to do so. This 
power, which since 1793 has been vested in succes- 
sive Governors-General, the Court of Directors at 
that time did not think fit to give ; but in order to 
meet Clive's views they resorted to the somewhat 
clumsy expedient of appointing a Select Committee, 
including and nominated by Clive, which was em- 
powered to act without consulting the Council. 








Clive sailed from Portsmouth on the 4th June 1764, 
and after a tedious and prolonged voyage, reached 
Calcutta on the 3d May in the following year. 
Before sailing he placed before the chairman of 
the Company his views on the situation in India. 
He condemned the course taken by the Govern- 
ment of Bengal in permitting Kasim Ali to establish 
himself at so great a distance from Calcutta that the 
Government could not exercise an effective control 
over his proceedings, and in practically encouraging 
him to assume an independent position. c The princes 
of the country,' he said, 'must in a great measure 
be dependent on us, or we totally so on them.' In his 
opinion it was c impossible to rely upon the modera- 
tion or justice of Mussulmans.' He had long been 



convinced that the whole of the British possessions 
in India ought to be under one head, and he now 
expressed his opinion 'that if ever the appointment 
of such an officer as Governor-General should become 
necessary, he ought to be established in Bengal, as 
the greatest weight of your civil, commercial, political 
and military affairs will always be in that province.' 

Clive arrived at Madras on the ioth April 1765, 
and then heard of the death of Mir Jafar, which had 
taken place on the 25th February. Mir Jafar had 
left a natural son, Nazim ud Daulah, a lad of eighteen, 
and a grandson, a son of Miran, a child of six. Clive 
at once decided to recognise the grandson as Nawab, 
and to rule in his name during his minority, but on 
reaching Calcutta he found that Nazim ud Daulah 
had already been placed on the throne. In the cir- 
cumstances, this appointment, made as it was with 
the full knowledge that Clive was expected to arrive 
immediately, was obviously indecent. The motive 
for it is supplied by Mill, who tersely remarks : 
i Nazim ud Daulah could give presents ; the infant 
son of Miran, whose revenues must be accounted for 
to the Company, could not.' 

Clive's unfavourable opinion of the Council was 
speedily justified. Those gentlemen had lost no time 
in following the precedents of 1757, of 1761 and of 
1764, by making it a condition of the succession of 
the new Nawab that he should make large presents 
to themselves. The sums thus exacted on this occa- 


sion amounted to £1 39,357, and were received in 
defiance of a despatch from the Court of Directors, 
which reached Calcutta a fortnight before Mir Jafar's 
death, forbidding their servants to accept presents 
from natives, and requiring them to execute cove- 
nants framed to secure obedience to this order. The 
order, however, had been ignored, and the covenants 
had remained unexecuted. Shortly before this time 
Vansittart had retired, and had been succeeded by 
Spencer. Of this gentleman Clive had previously 
formed a good opinion, but on looking into matters 
he came to the conclusion that Spencer was as cor- 
rupt as his colleagues, and also that he was extremely 
deficient in independence of character. He had lowered 
the status of the office of Governor to such an extent 
that, in Clive's words, 'the office had been hunted 
down, stripped of its dignity and then divided into 
sixteen shares ' — sixteen being the number of members 
of Council. Clive lost no time, on assuming the 
government, in notifying to the Council the powers 
which had been assigned to the Select Committee. 
Two of the members of Council seeming disposed 
to question those powers, Clive at once cut them 
short, intimating that he would not permit any dis- 
cussion on the subject, but that if the members of 
Council thought fit, they might record their dissents. 
Within a week after his arrival, he insisted upon the 
immediate execution of the covenants ordered by the 
Court, failing which the recusants were to be sus- 


pended from the service. His firmness prevailed, and 
the covenants were signed forthwith. 

It cannot be denied that Clive's position was one 
of great difficulty. It was not to be supposed that 
the recipient of the enormous wealth which he 
had accepted from the Nawab of his own creation 
after Plassey would be allowed to enforce the new 
policy without being subjected to a strong remon- 
strance from those who might say, as they did say, 
that they had only followed the example set by him. 
Clive's answer was that the two cases were very 
different. When Plassey was fought, there were no 
orders prohibiting the acceptance of presents by public 
servants, and, moreover, the revolution which then 
took place was decidedly beneficial, not only to the 
interests of the Company, but to the interests of the 
people of Bengal, or v/ould have been so if it had not 
been for the venality and corruption of the Govern- 
ment which had succeeded his own. The answer was 
effective as a reply to the persons to whom it was 
addressed, but it clearly furnished no justification of 
the acceptance by a man in Clive's position of large 
sums of money from a foreign prince. The real 
defence, and this by no means complete, was that 
suggested by Macaulay, that the Company, by pay- 
ing very small salaries to its servants, 'had, by im- 
plication at least, authorised its agents to enrich 
themselves by means of the liberality of the native 
princes, and by other means still more objectionable.' 


This defence clearly fell to the ground after the 
acceptance of presents had been prohibited by the 
Directors of the Company, and even before that pro- 
hibition such a defence could have no application to 
the circumstances under which large sums of money 
had been extorted from Kasim Ali, and more recently 
from Mir Jafar and from his son, Nazim ud Daulah. 
Whatever might be said in extenuation of the accept- 
ance of presents voluntarily offered by a native chief, 
there could be no justification for the course taken 
in 1 761, when Mir Jafar was dethroned and the 
Nawabship was practically sold to Kasim Ali. Under 
the same category must be regarded the presents re- 
ceived from Mir Jafar in 1764, in consideration of 
his reinstatement on the Masnad. In the more recent 
case of Nazim ud Daulah, there was a clear viola- 
tion of orders, which no amount of casuistry could 
justify or extenuate. 

Clive at first found some difficulty in getting at 
all the facts connected with the accession of Nazim 
ud Daulah. For the purpose of clearing up matters, 
he invited the young prince and his minister, together 
with one or two other Bengal notables, to Calcutta, 
and, fortified by the information then obtained, and 
after hearing the defence of the persons implicated, 
he at once suspended from the service three members 
of the Council, Messrs Spencer, Johnston and Ley- 
cester, as well as some other high officials. This 
step, right as it was, and necessary in the public 


interests, entailed upon Clive, as he doubtless fore- 
saw, the determined hostility of the persons thus 
dealt with. This hostility manifested itself soon after 
his return to England, when Johnston, aided by several 
members of the House of Commons, brought charges 
against him. These, however, will form the subject 
of a subsequent chapter. 

It was on the occasion of this visit from the young 
Nawab that Clive resolved to institute a change in the 
arrangements which had been made by the Council 
for conducting the administration of Bengal. The 
Council, when placing Nazim ud Daulah on the 
throne, had required him to appoint a Muhammadan, 
named Muhammad Riza Khan, to aid him, and 
practically to carry on the management of his affairs. 
Riza Khan was an able man, but somewhat dictatorial. 
The Nawab disliked him, and Clive was not favour- 
ably impressed by him. Clive accordingly tried the 
experiment of associating with him two Hindus, viz., 
Dulab Ram, who had taken part in the negotiations 
before Plassey, and one of the Seths. But notwith- 
standing these appointments, Riza Khan managed to 
hold his own. 

We have seen that Clive's experience and his reflec- 
tions upon the course of events during his first visit to 
Bengal led him to form several important conclusions. 
One was that the Company's territories were likely to 
become too large and too important to be left under 
the government of a trading company, and that they 


should be taken over by the Crown. This conclusion 
was not unfavourably entertained by the elder Pitt, 
and had the latter remained in health and in power, 
it would probably have been carried into effect. As 
it was, although Clive's suggestion doubtless helped 
to shape various measures which, as time went on, 
were carried out for the purpose of increasing the 
efficiency of the government of India, and some of 
them at no very distant date, it took nearly a hundred 
years before full effect was given to it. Another of 
Clive's proposals was very speedily brought into opera- 
tion. It was the transfer of the administrative power, 
beginning with the management of the revenue, and 
speedily extended to the administration generally, 
from the Nawab of Bengal to the Company. 

Clive had felt for some time that there was not 
room for a double government in Bengal, and that, to 
use the words already quoted, * the princes of the 
country must be in a great measure dependent on 
us, or we totally so on them.' It was under the 
influence of this conviction that, on hearing at 
Madras of the death of Mir Jafar, and not foresee- 
ing that he might be forestalled by his future col- 
leagues in the selection of a successor, Clive had 
determined to recognise Mir Jafar's grandson as 
Nawab, and, governing in his name and with the 
authority of the Emperor, to adopt the system of 
government which he deemed to be most conducive 
to the welfare of the people of the three provinces, 


as well as to the interests of the Company. This, 
for the moment, seemed to be impossible, for Nazim 
ud Daulah was no longer a minor ; but of course a 
great deal depended upon the character of the new 
Nawab. If he had been a strong man, in short, if he 
had been a second Kasim Ali, Clive's vision could 
not have been realised ; but, as it turned out, Clive 
was not long in discovering that Nazim ud Daulah 
was, both by character and by education, absolutely 
unfit to conduct the government of Bengal for a 
single day. Indeed, when Clive broached to him the 
plan under which the Diwani was to be conferred 
upon the Company, or, in other words, the duty 
of collecting and administering the revenues was 
to be discharged by the latter, while the Nawab 
was to receive a fixed income of fifty lakhs a year, 
ultimately raised to fifty-three lakhs, wherewith to 
defray his personal expenses and the outgoings of his 
Court, the proposal met with the most ready acceptance, 
the young prince exclaiming, c Thank God, I shall 
now be able to have as many dancing girls as I please.' 
This arrangement was made at Murshidabad, but 
there were other treaties to be executed, one of 
which was essential to the validity of that which 
had just been made. Before, however, taking up 
the business here referred to, Clive deemed it advis- 
able to avail himself of the opportunity of the Nawab 
Vazfr of Oudh being at Benares to place upon a satis- 
factory footing the relations between the Company 


and that prince. This undertaking proved to be by 
no means difficult. The Nawab Vazfr had very 
recently been thoroughly beaten at the battle of 
Buxar by the Company's troops, and was both sur- 
prised and pleased at the liberal, indeed generous, 
terms which Clive was willing to accept. There 
was only one point, and that was not pressed by 
Clive, upon which the Nawab Vazir would make 
no concession. He would not allow any English 
factories to be established in his territories. He 
had seen the result of the establishment of such 
factories in Bengal, and had wisely decided to give 
no opening for the disputes which he felt sure would 
arise from the grant of trading facilities to foreigners. 
The terms which were eventually settled were that 
Oudh proper should be restored to the Nawab Vazir, 
that Allahabad and Corah should be restored to the 
Emperor, and that the Nawab Vazir should pay 
^600,000 as compensation for the expenses incurred 
by the Company in the war. It was also agreed that 
the Raja of Benares, who, having been a subject ot 
Oudh, had during the war submitted to the English, 
should retain his districts, but in subordination to the 
Nawab Vazir, that there should be a defensive alliance 
between the Company, the Subahdar of Bengal and 
the Nawab Vazir, and that the Company should, in 
case of need, supply the Nawab Vazir with troops, 
but should be paid for their services. 

These terms, though discussed at length, were not 


finally agreed upon until Clive, in company with the 
Nawab Vazir, had reached Allahabad, where the 
Emperor was awaiting them. The latter brought 
forward numerous demands, but was obliged to 
abandon most of them, and the negotiations resulted 
in the grant of the Diwani already referred to, in 
return for which the Company were bound to pay 
to the Emperor an annual tribute of twenty-six 
lakhs of rupees. In the language of the grant, the 
Diwani was given c as a free gift without the asso- 
ciation of any other person.' 

The policy of this settlement would seem from 
the outset to have been regarded by Clive without 
any misgivings. When reporting what had taken 
place in a despatch addressed to the Court of 
Directors, under date the 30th September 1765, he 
defended his policy in these words : — 

'The perpetual struggles for superiority between 
the Nawabs and your agents, together with the 
recent proofs before us of notorious and avowed 
corruption, have rendered us unanimously of opinion, 
after the most mature deliberation, that no other 
method can be suggested of laying the axe to the 
root of all those evils than that of obtaining the 
Diwani of Bengal, Behar and Orissa for the 
Company. By establishing the power of the Great 
Moghul, we have likewise established his rights ; 
and His Majesty, from principles of gratitude, of 
equity, and of policy, has thought proper to bestow 


this important employment on the Company, the 
nature of which is the collecting of all the 
revenues, and after defraying the expenses of the 
army, and allowing a sufficient fund for the support 
of the Nizamat, to remit the remainder to Delhi, 
or wherever the King shall reside or direct. But 
as the King has been graciously pleased to bestow 
on the Company, for ever, such surplus as shall 
arise from the revenues upon certain stipulations 
and agreements expressed in the Sanad, we have 
settled with the Nawab, with his own free will 
and consent, that the sum of fifty-three lakhs 
shall be annually paid to him for the support of 
his dignity and all contingent expenses, exclusive 
of the charge of maintaining an army, which is 
to be defrayed out of the revenues ceded to the 
Company by this royal grant of the Diwani ; and 
indeed the Nawab has abundant reason to be well 
satisfied with the conditions of this agreement, 
whereby a fund is secured to him without trouble 
or danger, adequate to all the purposes of such 
grandeur and happiness as a man of his sentiments 
has any conception of enjoying. More would 
serve only to disturb his quiet, endanger his 
government, and sap the foundation of that solid 
structure of power and wealth which, at length, 
is happily reared and completed by the Company, 
after a vast expense of blood and treasure. 

1 By this acquisition of the Diwani, your 


possessions and influence are rendered permanent 
and secure, since no future Nawab will either 
have power or riches sufficient to attempt your 
overthrow, by means either of force or corruption. 
All revolutions must henceforth be at an end, 
as there will be no fund for secret services, for 
donations, or for restitutions. The Nawab cannot 
answer the expectations of the venal and mercenary, 
nor will the Company comply with demands in- 
jurious to themselves out of their own revenues. 
The experience of years has convinced us that a 
division of power is impossible without generating 
discontent and hazarding the whole. All must 
belong either to the Company or to the Nawab. 
We leave you to judge which alternative is the 
most desirable, and the most expedient in the 
present circumstances of affairs. As to ourselves, 
we know of no other system we could adopt that 
would less affect the Nawab's dignity, and at the 
same time secure the Company against the fatal 
effect of future revolutions, than this of the 
Diwani. The power is now lodged where it can 
only be lodged with safety to us, so that we may 
pronounce with some degree of confidence that the 
worst which will happen in future to the Company 
will proceed from temporary ravages only, which can 
never become so general as to prevent your revenues 
from yielding a sufficient fund to defray your civil 
and military charges and furnish your investments. 


'The more we reflect on the situation of your 
affairs, the stronger appear the reasons for accept- 
ing the Diwani of these Provinces, by which alone 
we could establish a power sufficient to perpetuate 
the possessions we hold and the influence we 
enjoy. While the NawAb acted in quality of 
collector for the Moghul, the means of supporting 
our military establishment depended upon his pleasure. 
In the most critical situations, while we stood balanc- 
ing on the extreme border of destruction, his stipu- 
lated payments were slow and deficient, his revenues 
withheld by disaffected Rajas and turbulent Zamin- 
dars, who despised the weakness of his government ; 
or they were squandered in profusion and dissipated 
in corruption, the never-failing symptoms of a 
declining constitution and feeble administration. 
Hence we were frequently disappointed of those 
supplies, upon the receipt of which depended the 
very existence of the Company in Bengal.' 

The settlement thus arrived at was in its results 
the most important that had yet been effected in 
India on behalf of the East India Company. It 
made the Company not only in fact, but in title, 
the rulers of Bengal ; and at the same time their 
territorial acquisitions in other parts of India were 
confirmed to them. It established the peace between 
the Company and the Nawab of Oudh, which re- 
mained unbroken until 1855, when, owing to the 
long-continued misgovernment of Oudh, that pro- 


vince was annexed by Lord Dalhousie's Government 
to British territory, and the Nawab was removed to 
Calcutta, and, after the mutiny of the Bengal army, 
to British Burma. 

Important as the arrangement was, it cannot be 
said that it completely met the requirements of the case. 
It was open to some of the objections which invariably 
attach to a double government. Under it, the collec- 
tion of the revenue was left to persons appointed by 
the representatives of the Company, and the Company 
was thus insured against a failure of the funds which 
were necessary to meet the expenses of their adminis- 
tration. The army was placed under the Company, 
but the administration of justice was left under the 
Nawab. It was Clive's policy to rely as far as possible 
upon native agency, and to maintain the semblance 
of the Nawab's authority, while retaining the real 
power in the hands of the Company. Very soon, 
however, he found it necessary to appoint three 
English supervisors to control the collection of the 
revenues ; but this plan proved upon trial to 
be by no means sufficient, and after a lapse of 
seven years, Warren Hastings was compelled to 
entrust the executive duties, including the collection 
and administration of the revenues, to English civil 
servants, who were, and still are, styled collectors. 
The creation of courts of justice, and of some 
semblance of police, was the work of the same 
very able administrator. In thus postponing the 


open assumption by the English of the government 
of Bengal, Clive was actuated by political con- 
siderations. He deemed it inexpedient, having 
regard to the position of the Company in re- 
lation to foreign European powers, and also in 
relation to the independent native princes, that the 
Company should appear openly as the rulers ot 
Bengal, and for this reason he maintained the 
pageant of a Nawab, c through whom any en- 
croachment attempted by foreign powers could be 
effectually crushed by the military force at pur 
disposal,' and 'all real grievances complained of by 
them could through the same channel be examined 
into and redressed.' Clive was unwilling to c do 
any act by an exertion of the English power which 
can equally be done by the Nawab at our instance, 
as that would be throwing off the mask, and would 
be declaring the Company Subah of the Provinces.' 

Clive's views as to the limits of the Company's 
territory were at that time very decided. His 
foreign policy was by no means a forward one. He 
considered it absolutely unsafe to advance beyond 
Allahabad, and held that the English should be con- 
tent with the three provinces of Bengal, Behar and 
Orissa, in addition to their acquisitions in South and 
Western India. In a state paper which he wrote at 
this time, the following expressions occur : — 

'Our possessions should be bounded by the Pro- 
vinces.' 'Studiously maintain peace ; it is the ground- 


work of our prosperity.' * Never consent to act offen- 
sively against any powers except in defence of our 
own, the King's or the Nawab Vazfr's dominions, as 
stipulated by treaty, and above all things be assured 
that a march to Delhi would be not only a vain 
and fruitless project, but attended with destruction 
to our own army, and perhaps put a period to the 
very being of the Company in Bengal.' 

The Mahrattas were then in possession of Delhi, 
and Clive had been urged by the young Emperor to 
advance upon that city and help him to recover it ; 
but to all such suggestions he turned a deaf ear. He 
advised the Emperor to reside within the Company's 
territory, and refused to assist him in any enterprise 
beyond its limits. A few years before — indeed, up to 
the time of his last return to India — he had held 
different views ; but the state of corruption in the 
civil service which he discovered on his return 
satisfied him that the three Provinces which had been 
made over to the Company would fully tax the 
capacity of the agency which was likely to be available. 
As to the reinstatement of the Emperor at Delhi, 
he was deterred by other considerations. Clive had 
formed a very poor opinion of the Emperor's capacity 
and also of his honesty. He discovered at a very critical 
time, to which reference will be made presently, that 
a threatened invasion by the Mahrattas had been pro- 
jected at the instance of the Emperor, although the 
latter was then in close alliance with the Company. 









Clive's stay in India on this occasion was destined 
to be short, but there were two important questions 
with which he was compelled to deal before he could 
think of retiring, viz., the state of the civil service 
and the discontent, bordering upon mutiny, among 
the English officers of the Bengal army. 

We have seen what evils had resulted from allowing 
the civil servants of the Company to carry on trade 
on their own account, and how, by the abuses con- 
nected with this permission, they had driven Kasim 
Ali into a war which, had it not been for the 
ability and gallantry of some of the chief military 
officers in the service, might have put an end to the 


existence of the Company, and with it to British rule 
in India. The main cause of these evils was the in- 
adequacy of the salaries allowed to the civil servants. 
The salary of a member of Council was only ^300 
a year — an income upon which it was impossible 
for him to live, still more impossible for him to 
save anything for the future. The salaries of servants 
of the lower grades were still smaller. To meet 
the difficulty the Court of Directors had permitted 
their servants to add to their incomes by embark- 
ing in private trade, and had tacitly acquiesced in 
their receiving large presents from the natives. It 
was a long time before the Court could be brought 
to see that the only suitable remedy lay in a large 
augmentation of salaries, accompanied by an absolute 
prohibition of private trade. This was the remedy 
which Clive and his Committee urged upon the Court, 
but that body absolutely refused to sanction it. They 
were still traders, unable to realise their duties and 
responsibilities as the rulers of what was destined to 
be a great Empire. It was not until more than a 
quarter of a century had elapsed, that in 1 792, after 
the first capture of Seringapatam and the acquisi- 
tion of the large territory in the south of India 
which that capture brought with it, they were induced 
by an urgent representation addressed to them by 
the Marquis of Cornwallis to sanction the measure 
which had in vain been propounded by Clive. 

The following were Lord Cornwallis's words : — 


1 1 consider it a duty to you and to my country 
to declare that the best rules and regulations that 
can be framed, either by yourselves or by the govern- 
ments in India, will prove totally nugatory and useless 
unless you adopt as a decided and fixed principle 
that liberal salaries shall be annexed to every office 
of trust and responsibility at all the presidencies ; 
that all perquisites shall be abolished ; and that the 
most vigorous checks shall be established to prevent 
vour servants from attempting to acquire fortunes by 
means that are often practised, but more publicly 
avowed, but for the pursuit of which many of them 
find an almost unanswerable apology by representing 
the impossibility of their even existing upon their nar- 
row and wretched public allowances. The system that 
has been so long and fatally pursued in this country, 
of granting trifling salaries to men employed in high 
trust, and who are surrounded by great temptations, 
and of leaving them to look for their subsistence and 
future hope of retirement to perquisites and unavowed 
emoluments, is as cruelly destructive of the morals 
of individuals as it is ruinous to the interests of the 

An increase of salaries having been disallowed, Clive 
was compelled to devise another means of meeting the 
evil. The plan which he adopted was to place the 
management of the public and private trade in Bengal 
under the control of the Government. The chief branch 
of this trade was salt. Clive established a society to 


conduct the traffic in salt on the principle of a 
monopoly, the profits of which, after reserving ten 
lakhs a year for the Company, were to be divided 
among the servants of the Company according to 
their rank. The members of the Council and the 
Colonels in the army received respectively 70,000 
rupees a year, and the subordinate officers, civil and 
military, in proportion. This scheme, like its pre- 
decessor, was disallowed by the Court after two 
years' trial, and then matters relapsed into their pre- 
vious position. 

On the occasion of one of Clive's visits to Mur- 
shidabad in 1766, he was informed that Mir Jafar had 
left him by his will five lakhs of rupees, valued at 
that time, together with interest, at between .£60,000 
and ^70,000. This sum he resolved to invest in a 
fund for the relief of the English officers and men 
of the East India Company's army. The arrange- 
ment was subsequently carried out with the sanction 
of the Court of Directors, and the fund was supple- 
mented from the Indian treasury. It remained in 
operation until 1858, when, the East India Company 
having ceased to exist as a governing body, the fund 
was reclaimed by Clive's heirs-at-law. The objects, 
however, for which the fund had been constituted 
were not lost sight of. After the government of 
India was taken over by the Crown, the Secretary or 
State for India in Council decided to continue from 
the revenues of India the pensions which had been 


paid up to that time out of Clive's fund. Those 
pensions are still paid, and are still called the Clive 
Fund Pensions. 

About this time Clive was confronted by grave 
discontent in the civil service. Many of the senior 
civilians had perished in the massacre at Patna. Some 
of the juniors had in consequence been appointed to 
posts for which, owing to their youth and inexperi- 
ence, they were unfit. Official secrets were divulged, 
and in other ways the public service suffered. In 
these circumstances Clive brought up from Madras 
four civil servants belonging to that establishment, 
and gave them vacant seats in the Bengal Council. 
What followed is described by Clive in a despatch 
to the Court of Directors, dated 31st January 1766, 
of which the following is an extract : — 

1 We are sorry to find that our endeavours to serve 
the Company, in a manner the least injurious to your 
servants here, should be misconstrued. As soon as 
this measure became known by reports from Madras, 
and previous to our laying any proceedings before 
the Board, the young gentlemen of the settlement 
had set themselves up for judges of the propriety of 
our conduct and the degree of their own merit. 
Each would think himself qualified to transact your 
weighty affairs in Council, at an age when the laws 
of his country adjudged him unfit to manage his own 
concerns to the extent of forty shillings. They had 
not only set their hands to the memorial of complaint, 


but entered into associations unbecoming at their 
years, and destructive of that subordination without 
which no government can stand. All visits to the 
President are forbidden. All invitations from him 
and the members of the Select Committee are to 
be slighted. The gentlemen called down by our 
authority from Madras are to be treated with neglect 
and contempt. Every man who deviates from this 
confederacy is to be stigmatised and avoided. In a 
word, the members are totally to separate themselves 
from the head, decorum and union are to be set 
at defiance, and it becomes a fair struggle whether 
we or the young gentlemen shall in future guide the 
helm of government. Look at their names, examine 
their standing, inquire into their services, and reflect 
upon the age of four-fifths of the subscribers to this 
bill of grievances, who now support the association, 
and you will be equally surprised with us at the pre- 
sumptuous intemperance of youth, and convinced that 
a stop of three or four years in the course of promo- 
tion is indispensably necessary if you would have 
your Council composed of men of experience and 

i From this sketch of the behaviour of your servants, 
you will perceive the dangerous pitch to which the 
independence and licentious spirit of this settlement 
hath risen ; you will then determine on the necessity 
and propriety of the step we have taken. In the 
meantime, we are resolved to support it, or we must 


submit to the anarchy and confusion consequent on 
subjecting the decrees of your Select Committee to 
the revisal and repeal of young gentlemen just broke 
loose from the hands of their schoolmasters.' 

Not long after the mutiny in the civil service had 
been suppressed, a difficulty arose with the army, 
which, in the hands of a less resolute man, might 
have been attended with the gravest consequences. 
We have seen how low in those days was the standard 
of official morality in the civil service. It cannot be 
said that a higher standard prevailed in the military 
service. In both cases the abuses which obtained 
were largely due to the failure of the Court of 
Directors to recognise the absolute necessity of 
granting adequate official remuneration in order to 
secure honest service. In both services it was im- 
possible for the members to live upon their pay. In 
both the practice of engaging in trade, and of accept- 
ing presents from natives, had been tacitly sanctioned 
by the home authorities. In the earlier days of the 
Indian army, the officers in the three Presidencies 
drew a fixed rate of pay when in garrison or in the 
Presidency town, and when in the field an additional 
sum which was called ' battaS After Plassey, Mir 
Jafar, at the instance of Clive, had granted the officers 
of the Bengal army a further sum equal to the batta, 
which was called double batta. This was still con- 
tinued, although the Court of Directors had sent out 
repeated orders for its discontinuance. There can be 


no question that after the private trade and the 
acceptance of presents had been interdicted, it would 
have been impossible for the officers, either civil or 
military, to maintain their position without either an 
increase of pay or some other equivalent advantage. 
That equivalent had been for the time provided by 
Clive's establishment of a salt monopoly, and conse- 
quently there was no justification for the failure of 
Vansittart's and Spencer's governments to enforce 
the orders of the Court regarding the double batta. 
This was doubtless Clive's view, and in September 
1765, he notified that on the 1st January 1756 
the double batta would cease. Thereupon at 
once arose a conspiracy to prevent the order from 
being carried out. The success of the conspiracy 
was at the outset promoted, rather than hindered, 
by an important improvement in the organisation of 
the Bengal army which had just been made. Up 
to this time there had been no proper regimental or 
brigade organisation. Clive, when in England, had 
pressed the point upon the Court, who had given their 
approval to the main features of the scheme suggested 
by him for increasing the number of European 
officers and soldiers, and grading them in regiments 
and brigades. This organisation had been just com- 
pleted when the notification of the stoppage of double 
batta appeared. The Bengal army had been divided 
into three brigades, commanded respectively by Colonel 
Sir Robert Fletcher, Colonel Richard Smith, and 


Colonel Sir Robert Barker. The form which the 
conspiracy took, was that the officers concerned in it, 
some 200 in number, agreed to resign their commis- 
sions simultaneously on a given day, in the hope of 
thereby compelling the Government to withdraw their 
obnoxious orders. At the head of the conspiracy, 
although at first professing to discredit the fact of its 
existence, and then, when it could no longer be 
ignored, to condemn it, was Sir Robert Fletcher, 
the officer commanding the first brigade. 

The conduct of this officer, when it came to be 
investigated, was proved to have been extremely dis- 
creditable. He had played a double game throughout. 
He had in his heart sympathised with the disaffected 
officers, and had, in fact, instigated some of them to 
join the combination. He had indeed been the soul 
of the conspiracy. He had posed as the champion 
of law and order at the very time that he was 
encouraging his brother officers to resign their 
commissions. He had endeavoured in the first in- 
stance to deceive Clive, but Clive had penetrated 
his treachery. He was tried by court-martial, and 
was clearly convicted of having concealed the plot 
for four months, and was thereupon dismissed from 
the service. 

All this time the Mahrattas were threatening an 
invasion of Bengal, and there can be no doubt that the 
situation was extremely serious ; but Clive's firmness 
prevailed. Officers were brought up from Madras. 


Clive offered commissions to mercantile men, but 
only three accepted them. Indeed, there is reason to 
believe that there was much sympathy, not only on 
the part of civil servants, but on the part of many 
mercantile men, with the grievances of the military 
officers. The Sepoys, however, stood by Clive, as 
did some of the principal British military officers, 
including the officers commanding the second and 
third brigades. Several of the ringleaders were tried 
and cashiered. The rest were allowed to withdraw 
their resignations, and discipline was restored. The 
threatened Mahratta invasion passed away. 

There was no part of Clive's career in which his 
resolute courage shone more brilliantly than it did on 
this occasion. Had there been the slightest faltering 
on his part, the whole power of the State must have 
been delivered into the hands of the army. Few men 
in history, placed in circumstances so grave, have 
acted with a judgment so sound and with a decision 
so consummate. Not one of Clive's other achieve- 
ments have surpassed, in the courage which he 
evinced, and in the genius which he displayed, his 
suppression of this mutiny. Even if it had stood 
alone, it would have marked him as a true leader of 

A remarkable incident connected with this mutiny, 
and very characteristic of the times, was the subse- 
quent story of the recreant Brigadier, Sir Robert 
Fletcher. One would have thought that an officer 


of his rank, who had taken the part which he had 
borne in the mutiny, after having been dismissed 
from the army, would not have been readmitted 
into the military service in any circumstances what- 
ever ; but, bad as his conduct had been, he had 
sufficient interest after his return to England to 
procure his reinstatement in the army, and was 
subsequently appointed to the high office of Com- 
mander-in-Chief at Madras. 1 Here he again showed 
the cloven foot. Unable apparently to abstain for 
any length of time from intrigue, he took a prominent 
part in the dispute which in 1775 ended in the forcible 
supersession and imprisonment of the Governor of 
Madras, Lord Pigot, by the members of his Council. 
Fletcher eventually died at Mauritius, where he had 
gone on sick leave. 

Clive's last administration was drawing to a close 
when the mutiny of the officers took place. The Court 
of Directors, although differing from Clive's views on 
certain points, and some of them points of great import- 
ance, hid formed an opinion of his last administration 
not less high than that which they entertained of his 
previous government of Bengal. In 1765 he had 

1 It appears that even Clive's friend, Grenville, urged Clive after his 
return to England not to oppose the reinstatement of Sir Robert Fletcher 
in the army. What course Clive took does not appear, but it is clear 
from what he said, in his defence before the House of Commons, of the 
Court of Directors having restored to the service almost every civil and 
military transgressor who had been dismissed, that he cannot have ap- 
proved of Fletcher's reinstatement. 


intimated his intention of resigning the government 
as soon as he could do so without prejudice to the 
public interests. In a despatch dated March 1766, 
the Court urged him to reconsider this decision. In 
doing so they paid a very high tribute to i the pene- 
tration which had at once discerned the true interests 
of the Company in every branch ' of the public service, 
c to the rapidity with which he had restored peace, 
order and tranquillity,' to the unbiassed integrity which 
had governed all his actions, and to the great import- 
ance of his remaining in India for another year. But 
Clive's health had suffered much from the exposure 
and labour he had gone through. When the despatch 
reached India he was very seriously ill, and any pro- 
longation of his stay would have been at the risk of 
his life. Moreover, he had already accomplished most 
of the objects for which the Court wished him to 
remain. Some of the worst of the civil servants had 
been got rid of. Although the Court had most 
unwisely refused to sanction the increase of salaries 
which Clive had advocated, for reasons the weight 
of which was incontestable, the temporary expedient 
which had been adopted for improving the incomes 
of the civil servants had met the immediate emer- 
gency. The suppression of the officers' mutiny, and 
the reorganisation of the army in regiments, had 
placed the military position upon a sound footing. 
Mr Verelst, who, on the suspension of Mr Sumner, 
had become the Governor-designate, had, it was 


thought, proved his capacity, as had the members of 
Council, Messrs Sykes and Cartier. 

Nothing now remained for Clive before embarking 
for England but to take leave of his colleagues. This 
he did in a weighty minute which he laid before them 
on the 1 6th January 1767, the last occasion on which 
he attended the Council. The most important point 
upon which he dwelt in this paper was the necessity 
for not only promulgating, but for rigorously enforc- 
ing, the orders of the Government. It had, he 
observed, been c too much the custom in this Govern- 
ment to make orders and regulations, and then to 
suppose the business done. To what end and purpose 
are they made if they be not promulgated and en- 
forced ? No regulation can be carried into execution, 
no order obeyed, if you do not make rigorous examples 
of the disobedient. Upon this point I rest the welfare 
of the Company in Bengal. The servants are now 
brought to a proper sense of their duties. If you 
slacken the reins of government, affairs will soon 
revert to their former channel. Anarchy and cor- 
ruption will again prevail, and, elate with a new 
victory, be too headstrong for any future efforts of 
government. Recall to your memories the many 
attempts that have been made in the civil and military 
departments to overcome our authority and to set 
up a kind of independency against the Court of 
Directors. Reflect also on the resolute measures 
we have pursued, and their wholesome effects. Dis- 


obedience to legal power is the first step of sedition, 
and palliative measures effect no cure. Every tender 
compliance, every condescension on your parts, will 
only encourage more flagrant attacks, and will daily 
increase in strength, and be at last in vain resisted. 
Much of our time has been employed in correcting 
abuses. The important work has been prosecuted 
with zeal, diligence and disinterestedness ; and we 
have the happiness to see our labours crowned with 
success. I leave the country in peace. I leave the 
civil and military departments under discipline and 
subordination. It is incumbent on you to keep them 
so. You have power, you have abilities, you have 
integrity. Let it not be said that you are deficient 
in resolution. I repeat that you must not fail to 
exact the most implicit obedience to your orders. 
Dismiss or suspend from your service any man who 
shall dare to dispute your authority. If you deviate 
from the principles upon which you have hitherto 
acted, and upon which you are conscious you ought to 
proceed, or if you do not make a proper use of that 
power with which you are invested, I shall hold myself 
acquitted, as I do now protest, against the consequences.' 

A week later he communicated to his colleagues a 
supplemental minute embodying the following ob- 
servations upon a point to which he had omitted to 
advert in his previous paper : — 

c The people of this country,' he wrote, c have little 
or no idea of a divided power ; they imagine that all 

Showing British Possessions at that date, 


authority is vested in one man. The Governor of 
Bengal should always be looked upon by them in this 
light, so far as is consistent with the honour of the 
Committee and the Council. In every vacant season, 
therefore, I think it expedient that he take a tour up 
the country in the quality of a supervisor-general. 
Frauds and oppressions of every sort being by this 
means laid open to his view, will in a great measure 
be prevented, and the natives will preserve a just 
opinion of the importance and dignity of our Presi- 
dent, upon whose character and conduct much of the 
prosperity of the Company's affairs in Bengal must 
ever depend.' 

These were Clive's last official utterances in India. 
They were worthy of the man who in less than 
twenty-two months had reformed the civil service 
and the army, had suppressed a dangerous mutiny, 
had reduced the expenditure, had by a wise and 
liberal economy nearly extinguished the Company's 
debt in India, and had substituted British for native 
rule over extensive and populous provinces. 

If the Court of Directors, while justly according to 
Clive's last administration the praise which it so well 
deserved, had had the wisdom to adopt his recom- 
mendations regarding salaries, many of the evils which 
followed his departure might have been avoided ; 
but in this, and in some other matters, the Court 
would seem to have laboured under a sort of judicial 
blindness, which was impervious to arguments, how- 


ever cogent. Probably this was in a great measure 
due to the personal hostility of Sullivan and of some 
other members of the Court, and possibly in an even 
larger measure to the inability of men brought up 
to trade to realise their duties and the interests of 
the public when dealing with affairs of State. 














Clive embarked at Calcutta for England on the 
29th January 1767. He had already announced the 
arrangements for carrying on the administration 
which were to take effect on his departure. Verelst 
was to succeed him as Governor. The command of 
the army, held by General Carnac, who sailed in the 
same ship with Clive, was to devolve upon Colonel 
Richard Smith. Sykes, Cartier and Beecher were to 
be the members of Council. The duration of the 



voyage was not so prolonged as that of most of 
Clive's voyages. He landed at Portsmouth on the 
14th July, and reached London on the following day. 
His health was in some degree re-established, but was 
still very far from good. His labours and anxieties, 
and the exposure he had undergone during his last 
administration, had told severely upon him, and had 
rendered essential a lengthened absence from public 
business ; but this, partly owing to his own tempera- 
ment, and partly owing to the course of events, he 
was not destined to enjoy. He met with a cordial 
greeting on his arrival in London. He was well re- 
ceived by the King and Queen, and also by the Court 
of Directors. The latter, as stated, had put up a statue 
of him in the East India House, and also statues of 
General Stringer Lawrence and of Admiral Pocock. 
It is clear from his letters that he expected to receive 
a British peerage ; but this expectation was never 
fulfilled. Although, when Clive reached England, 
Pitt, then Earl of Chatham, was in office, and still 
retained his friendly feeling towards Clive, his state 
of health was such that he was absolutely incapaci- 
tated from public business. Clive's friends still 
formed a majority in the Court of Directors ; but 
that Court and the Court of Proprietors were at issue 
on more than one important point, and the result 
of the controversies which took place was not always 
favourable to Clive. The acquisition of the Diwani, 
and the great improvement which had taken place 


in the financial position of the Company in Bengal, 
had led many of the proprietors of India stock to 
consider that the dividend ought to be increased. 
This was not the view of the Court of Directors, 
nor was it that of the Government, although it seems 
to have found some favour with Clive. Several of 
the leading Directors, notwithstanding the prosperity 
of Bengal affairs at that time, felt that the case was 
far otherwise in Madras. There the Company were 
engaged in hostilities with Hyder Ali, and the 
situation was by no means satisfactory. It is also 
possible that they were not free from misgivings as to 
the continuance in Bengal of the state of things which 
Clive had left behind him, and therefore deemed it 
unsafe to place any further burden upon the Com- 
pany's revenues. However, the proposed increase of 
dividend, raising it to 12 J per cent., was carried, 
although the Government interposed by a legislative 
Act which reduced the maximum dividend to 10 per 
cent. The action of the Company in this matter 
encouraged the Government, who were at that time 
in great financial straits, to exact from the Company 
an annual subsidy of ^400,000. To this impost Clive 
was strongly opposed. He deemed it to be extor- 
tionate, and condemned it in language which gave 
considerable offence to some members of the Cabinet. 
On another point which directly affected his 
personal interests, Clive was led to entertain 
hostile sentiments towards the Court of Directors 


owing to the attitude of some of the members 
regarding the Jagir which had been conferred upon 
him by Mir Jafar. This Jagir, as we have seen, had 
formed a subject of controversy before Clive left 
England in 1764. The Court at that time, under 
the influence of Sullivan, had proposed to confiscate 
the grant, and orders to that effect had been sent out 
to India, but when shortly afterwards it was found 
necessary again to take advantage of Clive's services 
in Bengal, it was proposed to confirm his title to 
the grant on a permanent footing. Subsequently* 
at his own suggestion, it was settled that he should 
retain the Jagir for a further period of ten years, 
should he live so long, and that at the end of that 
time, or upon his death at an earlier date, it 
should revert to the Company. Shortly before 
Clive's return, a proposal to prolong still further 
his tenure of the Jagir had been made, as a 
suitable mode of rewarding his eminent services 
during his last administration. The proposal was 
to extend the grant for a further period of ten 
years after the term then current should have 
expired. This proposal had been carried in the 
Court of Proprietors by a very large majority, but 
in the Court of Directors there had been some 
hesitation as to the amount of the grant. How- 
ever, when Clive reached London, the Court of 
Directors, having thanked him for his great ser- 
vices, called a General Court, at which the previous 


resolution was unanimously passed. Still, the hesita- 
tion which had been shown rankled for a long time 
in Clive's mind, and materially affected his future 
sentiments towards the Court of Directors. 

The following are the terms in which he expressed 
his opinion of them in a letter written not long after 
his return : — 

'With regard to the Directors, I tell you frankly 
that no one can entertain a worse opinion of them 
than I do. They have neither abilities nor resolution 
to manage such important concerns as are now under 
their care. Of this the world in general seems 
very sensible ; and yet what to do I protest I know 
not. An attempt to reform may throw matters into 
greater confusion. 

c You see my Jagir is at last continued to me 
and my representatives for ten years after the ex- 
piration of my present right. I am more obliged 
to the Proprietors for this grant than to the Direc- 
tors, who threw a great deal of cold water upon it. 
Indeed, their whole conduct towards me and my 
associates in Committee has shown weakness or 
something worse, for they have upon all occasions 
endeavoured to lessen the acquisitions we have ob- 
tained for them, and kept everything that might 
contribute to our reputation as secret as possible, 
and if Parliament had not brought our transactions 
to light, mankind would have been ignorant of what 
has been done. In short, they appear very envious 


and jealous of my influence, and give ear to every 
idle story of my being hostile towards them. Every- 
thing looks as if we were not upon good terms. 
They have even asked my opinion upon their affairs 
in such a mean, sneaking manner that I have in- 
formed one of them, unless I am applied to in form, 
and unless more attention be paid to my advice, I 
shall decline giving any whatsoever. Thus matters 
stand at present, but how long they may remain so 
I know not, nor what changes may happen at the 
next election.' 

Those sentiments were not worthy of a man of 
Clive's calibre. Their justice was not admitted by 
some of his most strenuous friends, thoroughly ac- 
quainted with the facts of the case. Scrafton, a 
man who had been closely connected with Clive 
in India, had been present at Plassey, and was now 
a member of the Court of Directors, did his best, 
but without effect, to remove Clive's suspicions of 
the hostility of various members of the Court. Very 
probably the state of Clive's health, and the irrita- 
bility which accompanied it, rendered him more sus- 
picious than he otherwise would have been of the 
loyalty of those upon whom he considered himself 
entitled to rely. 

Another incident, however, which took place about 
the time of Clive's return, was far more calculated 
to arouse and to justify his resentment. It was the 
abandonment of proceedings against the members of 


the Bengal Council who had been removed from 
office at the instance of Clive. The Court of 
Directors had resolved to bring these officials to 
trial for having received presents from natives after 
the order of the Court prohibiting the acceptance 
of such presents had reached them. There was at 
that time a very strong feeling among a large body 
in the Court of Proprietors against those members 
of the Court of Directors, most of them friends and 
supporters of Clive, who had opposed the increase 
of the dividend. Advantage of this feeling was taken 
by the inculpated officials to appeal to the Court of 
Proprietors against the proposed prosecution, and the 
appeal resulted in the prosecution being withdrawn. 
This showed that public officials, however culpable 
their conduct might have been, had only to amass 
wealth, and by that means acquire interest in 
England, in order to obtain condonation for their 

Clive was not one of those who had denounced 
the increase of the dividend, and therefore was not 
aimed at by the majority of the Proprietors who had 
supported the withdrawal of the prosecutions ; but 
the result of that measure was to him most serious, 
for it encouraged his enemies to make the attacks 
upon him, both in and out of Parliament, which 
embittered the remainder of his life. 

Early in the year after his return (1768), Clive, 
by the advice of his physicians, went over to the 


Continent, spending some time in Paris, and after- 
wards visiting Lyons, Montpellier and Spa. He had 
been urged to prolong his stay abroad, and to avoid 
the rigour of the ensuing English winter ; but he 
so greatly disliked the tedium of an idle life that 
in August he returned to England. As regards 
his future comfort and his health, the decision was 
unfortunate, for his stay in the South of France was 
too short to effect the cure which might have resulted 
from a longer residence there ; but Clive's was not 
a temperament which could tolerate inactivity for any 
length of time, and consequently he returned to London 
and threw himself, heart and soul, into the various 
public questions, mainly Indian questions, which were 
then under discussion. 

Clive had never for a day lost his interest in India. 
He regarded that country as even then the greatest 
of our dependencies, and spared no pains in impress- 
ing upon his successors the views which he enter- 
tained. With Verelst, who had succeeded him as 
Governor of Bengal, he maintained an active corre- 
spondence. He had a high opinion of Verelst's char- 
acter and of his ability, but he evidently had doubts 
as to his firmness. ' Your integrity,' he wrote to 
Verelst, 'and goodness of your heart must be ac- 
knowledged by all who know you, and it is with 
pleasure I observe you have set out with a close 
attention to other necessary and public qualifications. 
Continue in the full exertion of that steadiness and 



resolution with which you began your government. 
Your judgment is sound. Set a just value, then, 
upon every opinion of your own, and always enter- 
tain a prudent degree of suspicion of the advice of 
any man who can possibly be biassed by self-interested 
motives. Before I touch upon particulars, permit me 
to urge, in general, the necessity there is for you 
and the whole Council and Committee to join in 
holding the military under due subordination and 

This question of maintaining the due subordina- 
tion of the military to the civil power was one to 
which Clive continued to attach the greatest im- 
portance during the remainder of his life. The 
conspiracy in which a large number of the British 
officers in the Company's service had engaged dur- 
ing the last year of Clive's stay in India had taught 
him a lesson which he never forgot. To use Clive's 
own words, ' the dangerous consequences which 
may ensue from the least relaxation of command 
over a body so numerous as the English officers 
should ever be thought of with horror, and the good 
effects of maintaining an inflexible authority cannot 
be too often recollected in the instance of the late 

Clive had always thought well of the military 
capacity of Colonel Richard Smith, who on Carnac's 
retirement had been placed in the chief military com- 
mand in Bengal, but he had never liked him. He 


evidently regarded him as ambitious and aggressive, 
and as a man against whom the civil Governor 
should be constantly on his guard. In the letter 
already quoted, Clive writes regarding Colonel Smith 
in the following terms : — 

6 1 am glad to find that you are upon your guard 
against the pride and ambition of the Colonel, who, 
if there be any merit in the conduct of the military 
officers, will certainly claim the whole to himself and 
write the world to that purpose. His last, I should 
say his first, dispute, whether the Governor or the 
commanding officer of the troops ought to have the 
title of Commander-in-Chief, was such an open and 
audacious attack upon the dignity of your office that 
I am surprised you let it pass unnoticed. Had a 
minute been made of it, he would infallibly have been 
dismissed the service.' This last remark would seem 
to indicate a somewhat exaggerated view of the situa- 
tion. Within a very few years the designation of 
Commander - in - Chief had become the established 
description of the officers commanding the troops in 
each of the three Presidencies, and is now the re- 
cognised title of the officer who, under the organisa- 
tion established a few years ago, commands the whole 
of the Indian Army. At the same time, allowance 
must be made for the state of things which then 
existed, as evidenced by the treatment of the Governor 
of Madras a few years later, in which the officer com- 
manding the troops took an active part. 


These were the questions which principally occupied 
Clive during the earlier months after his return from 
India ; but other matters of greater importance shortly 
afterwards came to the front. The state of affairs in 
India rapidly became extremely unsatisfactory. The 
two men who in succession followed Clive as Governors 
of Bengal were neither of them strong men. In the 
case of Verelst, we have seen, from the letter which 
has been already quoted, that Clive had but little con- 
fidence in his firmness, and from what subsequently 
transpired, it would seem that Cartier was a decidedly 
weak man. It is, however, only fair to say that 
Verelst possessed some admirable qualifications as an 
Indian Governor. He had served long in India, and 
possessed a thorough knowledge of the people. He 
had done good work as supervisor of the revenue 
administration in the three districts ceded by Kasim 
Ali. Now, however, no adequate check was main- 
tained over the expenditure. In Bengal, owing to 
feeble and corrupt administration on the part of 
the subordinate officers, the revenue diminished. In 
Madras, the struggle with Hyder Ali involved heavy 
expenditure, and was at one time extremely critical. 
This state of things seriously affected the financial 
position of the Company in England, which was 
reduced to the greatest straits. The position was 
intensified by a terrible famine which devastated 
Bengal in 1770, when one-third of the population 
was computed to have perished. 


In the latter part of the same year, Clive sustained 
a heavy loss in the death of Mr George Grenville, 
his chief friend and supporter in English political 
life. This event was most disastrous for Clive ; 
for Grenville had been for some years his most con- 
sistent friend, and a very judicious adviser. Indeed, 
it is not too much to say that had Grenville lived 
a few years longer, his influence in Parliament 
and with the Government would have averted 
the attacks made upon Clive two years later, and 
also the proceedings in the House of Commons, 
which did so much to poison the latter years of 
his life. 

Meanwhile, in 1769, Sullivan and several of his 
friends had been elected to the Direction. An 
attempt was made to secure the reappointment 
of Vansittart as Governor of Bengal, with the 
authority of Governor-General. This Clive had 
sufficient influence to prevent. Thereupon the 
Court of Directors resolved to send out to Bengal 
three Commissioners with very large powers, to in- 
vestigate and reform Indian administration. Vansit- 
tart was appointed a member of this Commission. 
He and Clive had formerly been intimate friends, 
and it was upon Clive's recommendation that 
Vansittart had been appointed Governor of Bengal 
in 1760 ; but partly in consequence of the removal 
of Mir Jafar from the Nawabship, which Clive 
greatly resented, and partly in consequence of 


Vansittart having joined the party of Sullivan, 
their friendship had been turned into bitter hos- 
tility. The two other members of the Commis- 
sion were Scrafton and Forde, both staunch friends 
of Clive ; but the Commission never reached its 
destination, the frigate Aurora, in which the mem- 
bers sailed, foundering at sea between the Cape and 

It was then determined to appoint another Gov- 
ernor, and Warren Hastings, at that time second 
in Council at Madras, was selected for the office. 
Warren Hastings had served under Clive during 
his first government of Bengal. For some time 
after Plassey he was agent to the Governor at 
Murshidabad. There are letters still extant, many 
of them in Clive's handwriting, and all of them 
bearing Clive's autograph signature, which show 
that Clive had many opportunities of judging of 
Hastings's capacity, and, as has been said in an 
earlier chapter of this book, it has always been a 
matter of surprise that, when Clive was leaving 
India in 1760, and the choice of his successor 
was practically left to him, he should have pre- 
ferred Vansittart to Hastings, and also to Watts. 
Hastings had been a member of Vansittart's 
Council at Calcutta from 1761 to the end of 
1764, and had distinguished himself by the honesty 
of his official conduct, as contrasted with the dis- 
honourable course followed by the majority of the 


Council at that time. After a residence in England 
of five years, he was driven by poverty in 1769 
to seek re-employment in India, and in that year 
accepted the appointment of second in Council 
at Madras. It seems that on that occasion he 
received some support from Clive. He was serv- 
ing at Madras when it became necessary to select 
a new Governor of Bengal in succession to Cartier. 
Sykes, who had been a member of the Select 
Commitee sent out with Clive in 1764 — a very 
honest and discerning man — had in 1768 pressed 
the claims of Hastings upon Clive. Sykes's recom- 
mendation, supported probably by others, was 
doubtless renewed when the vacancy occurred in 
Bengal in 1771, on which occasion Clive took an 
active part in securing the appointment of Hast- 
ings. The following letter, which Clive addressed 
to Hastings after the appointment was made, 
indicates the estimate which he had formed of 
Hastings's capacity, and the impressions which had 
led him at one time to doubt his fitness for the 
post : — ■ 

'Berkeley Square, ist August 1771. 

'Dear Sir, — The despatch of the Lapwing gives 
me an early opportunity of congratulating with 
you on your removal to Bengal ; and as my zeal 
for the service actuated me to take the share I 
did in your appointment, the same principle pre- 


vails upon me to offer you a few of my ideas upon 
the important Government in which you now 

* Two or three months ago, when the plan of 
supervisors was renewed, Sir George Colebrook 
and Mr Purling desired my opinion. My advice 
was that, as the prosperity of the Company was 
now become a matter of very serious national 
concern, it behoved them to show that in appoint- 
ments of this nature they were guided, not by 
the views of particular friends, but merely by that 
zeal which the duty of their station demanded for 
preserving and rendering permanent our possessions 
in India ; and that therefore they should turn their 
thoughts towards men who stood high in public 
character and reputation. I proposed Mr Wedder- 
burn, Mr Cornwall and Sir Jeffrey Amherst, 
together with you as Governor and one of the 
Council : and that these five should be invested 
with all the powers, civil and military. Sir Jeffrey 
Amherst, however, declined. As to the two former, 
however, they might be prevailed upon ; but the 
Directors do not seem to embrace any great com- 
prehensive plan of supervisorship, so as to make it 
an object for men of such consequence. My last 
proposition was that the Company should revert 
to the plan of my Government, viz., that a Com- 
mittee of five should be appointed out of the best 
and ablest men in Bengal, of whom the Governor 


should be the head, and this, I imagine, will be 

c The situation of affairs requires that you should 
be very circumspect and active. You are appointed 
Governor at a very critical time, when things are 
suspected to be almost at the worst, and when a 
general apprehension prevails of the mismanagement 
of the Company's affairs. The last Parliamentary 
enquiry has thrown the whole state of India before 
the public, and every man sees clearly that, as matters 
are now conducted abroad, the Company will not 
long be able to pay the ^400,000 to Government. 
The late dreadful famine, or a war, either with Sujah 
ud Daulah or the Mahrattas, will plunge us into still 
deeper distress. A discontented nation and disap- 
pointed Ministers will then call to account a weak 
and pusillanimous Court of Directors, who will turn 
the blow from themselves upon their agents abroad, 
and the consequences must be ruin both to the 
Company and the servants. In this situation you 
see the necessity of exerting yourself in time, pro- 
vided the Directors give you proper powers, without 
which I confess you can do nothing ; for self- 
interest or ignorance will obstruct every plan you 
can form for the public good. 

' You are upon the spot, and will learn my con- 
duct from disinterested persons ; and I wish your 
Government to be attended, as mine was, with 
success to the Company, and with the conscious- 


ness of having discharged every duty with firmness 
and fidelity. Be impartial and just to the public, 
regardless of the interests of individuals where the 
honour of the nation and the real advantage of the 
Company are at stake, and resolute in carrying into 
execution your determinations, which, I hope, will 
at all times be rather founded upon your own 
opinion than that of others. 

i The business of politics and finance being so 
extensive, the Committee should not be embarrassed 
with private concerns. They ought not, therefore, 
to be allowed to trade. But their emoluments 
ought to be so large as to render trade unnecessary 
to the attainment of a competent fortune. For this 
purpose I am confident the salt will prove very 
sufficient. The society should be formed upon an 
improvement of a plan which was not perfected 
in my time. The price to the natives was too 
great, and so was the advantage to the servants. 
Reduce both, and I am persuaded there will be no 
complaint of oppression on the one hand, or want 
of emolument on the other. 

c The Company's servants should all have a sub- 
sistence, but every idea of raising a fortune, till they 
are entitled to it by some years' service, ought to be 
suppressed. If a general system of economy could 
be introduced, it would be happy for individuals, 
as well as for the public. The expenses of the 
Company in Bengal are hardly to be supported. 



Great savings, I am certain, may be made. Bills for 
fortifications, cantonments, contracts, etc., must be 
abolished, together with every extravagant charge 
for travelling, diet, parade and pomp of subordinates. 
In short, by economy alone the Company may yet 
preserve its credit and affluence. 

c With regard to political measures, they are to 
be taken according to the occasion. When danger 
arises, every precaution must be made use of, but 
at the same time you must be prepared to meet and 
encounter it. This you must do with cheerfulness 
and confidence, never entertaining a thought of 
miscarrying till the misfortune actually happens ; and 
even then you are not to despair, but be constantly 
contriving and carrying into execution schemes for 
retrieving affairs ; always flattering yourself with 
an opinion that time and perseverance will get the 
better of everything. 

c From the little knowledge I have of you, I am 
convinced that you have not only abilities and 
personal resolution, but integrity and moderation 
with regard to riches ; but I thought I discovered 
in you a diffidence in your own judgment, and too 
great an easiness of disposition, which may subject 
you insensibly to be led where you ought to guide. 
Another evil which may arise from it is, that you may 
pay too great an attention to the reports of the 
natives, and be inclined to look upon things in the 
worst instead of the best light. A proper confidence 


in yourself, and never-failing hope of success, will be 
a bar to this and every other ill that your situation 
is liable to ; and as I am sure that you are not 
wanting in abilities for the great office of Governor, 
I must add that an opportunity is now given you 
of making yourself one of the most distinguished 
characters of this country. 

' 1 perceive I have been very free in delivering my 
sentiments ; but to make an apology were to con- 
tradict the opinion I profess to have of your under- 
standing, and to doubt whether you would receive this 
as a token of my esteem. 

i It is perhaps unnecessary to add that this letter, 
which I have written in the fullest confidence, 
should be kept entirely to yourself. If a reciprocal 
communication of our sentiments on India affairs 
be agreeable to you, you may depend upon my 
continuing the correspondence in such manner as 
to show that I am with the sincerest wishes for your 
honour and success, dear sir, your very faithful 
humble servant, Olive.' 

This letter is interesting, as containing a free 
expression of Clive's views on the then situation in 
India, and his estimate of the great man to whom 
it was addressed ; but subsequent events speedily 
showed that Clive was entirely mistaken in supposing 
Hastings to be deficient in resolution. The two 
men differed in many respects. Their training had 


been different, but in the important quality of courage 
under difficulties, of the c mens cequa in arduis] it is 
hard to choose between them ; indeed, if we consider 
the difficulties with which Hastings had to contend 
during his long service as Governor of Bengal, and 
subsequently as Governor-General of India, and after- 
wards during his seven years' impeachment before 
Parliament, and when we remember the sad ending 
of Clive's life, we feel almost constrained to award 
the palm to Hastings. 








Up to this time Clive had maintained a somewhat 
isolated position in Parliament, having joined none 
of the great parties in the State, and it was feared 
by his enemies, not unnaturally, that if he now 
threw in his lot with the Ministers of the Crown, 
the difficulties of their task would be seriously 

When the letter to Hastings was written, and for 
some time previously, Clive's enemies in the Court 
of Directors and in the Court of Proprietors, with 
Sullivan at their head, were busily engaged in pre- 
paring an attack upon him in Parliament. About 
the same time Clive had conferences on the state 
of affairs in India with Lord North, then Prime 
Minister, and with the Secretary of State, Lord 
Rochford. These conferences would seem to 



have precipitated the crisis ; but the events which 
followed did not take the precise shape which Clive 
had, or could have, anticipated. His discussions 
with Ministers had not prepared him for any hos- 
tile action on their .part, nor does it appear that 
anything of the sort was at that time intended. 
When Parliament met on the 22d January 1772, 
the speech from the throne announced that it was 
proposed to introduce a measure to provide new 
laws c for supplying defects or remedying abuses ' in 
the administration of India ; but Clive had no reason 
to suppose that the new laws referred to any other 
reforms than those which he had himself advocated. 
Shortly afterwards, however, Sullivan, who was at 
that time deputy-chairman of the Court of Directors, 
and also a member of the House of Commons, gave 
notice of a motion to introduce a Bill i for the better 
regulation of the affairs of the East India Company 
and of their servants in India, and for the adminis- 
tration of justice in Bengal.' 

Several of the measures provided for in this Bill 
were measures which Clive had repeatedly advocated ; 
but when, on the 30th March, the debate came on, 
Sullivan's speech introducing the Bill, although he 
did not mention Clive's name, was practically an 
indictment of Clive. 

For some time previously the newspapers had 
teemed with attacks upon him. Both in the 
Indian civil service and in the army he had made 


enemies during his last administration by his stern 
repression of abuses and inflexible enforcement of 
orders. The leaders in the very formidable mutiny 
of the British officers of the Bengal army, with 
which Clive had dealt so effectively during the 
last year of his government, and the members of 
Council whom in the previous year he had dis- 
missed or suspended for their violation of the orders 
of the Court in regard to the acceptance of presents 
from natives, did their best to stimulate the attacks 
upon him. The very crimes which he had incurred 
the odium of repressing were laid to his charge. 
The unsatisfactory condition of the Company's 
affairs after his departure from India, attributable 
in a great measure to the errors of his successors, 
was ascribed to him. 

Stung to the quick by the onslaught made upon 
him, and by the ingratitude of the authorities who 
ought to have come forward in his defence, Clive 
took advantage of the debate raised by Sullivan 
to reply to his assailants, and in a speech of re- 
markable eloquence and vigour, in regard to which 
Lord Chatham l said that he had never listened to 
a finer speech, demolished the accusations which 
had been made against him. 

This speech, which occupies thirty-four columns 
of Almon's Parliamentary History, 2 is too long to 

1 The Earl of Chatham was present in the House of Commons under 
the gallery when the speech was made. 

2 Revised and published by T. C. Hansard in 181 3. 


reproduce in the text of this memoir, but it will 
be found printed at length as an Appendix. 1 In it 
Clive went fully into the charges which had been 
made against him. He reminded the House how, 
in 1764, when the affairs of Bengal and of the 
Company were in a dangerous and critical situation, 
he had been sent out to put them straight, how 
the Court of Directors at that time had not treated 
him with the consideration to which he was entitled, 
but had grudged him the necessary powers, while 
those they gave him had been so loosely worded 
that when he reached Calcutta they were contested 
by the Council, and he was compelled to place a 
broad construction upon them in order to secure 
the objects with which they had been given. 
Three paths, he said, were before him. One ' was 
strewed with abundance of fair advantages.' He 
might have put himself at the head of the Govern- 
ment as he found it. He might have encouraged 
the resolution that the Council had taken, not to 
execute the new covenants which prohibited the 
receipt of presents, and he might, notwithstanding 
that he had signed the covenant himself, have in- 
creased his wealth by unjustifiable means. 

Or he might, finding his powers disputed, have 
left Bengal without making an effort to save it. 

The third path was intricate, but he resolved to 
pursue it. He determined to do his duty, although 

1 Appendix I. 


he incurred the odium of the whole settlement. He 
took the resolution c of cleansing the Augean stable.' 
c It was that conduct,' he said, ' which has occasioned 
the public papers to teem with scurrility and abuse 
against me, ever since my return to England. It 
was that conduct which occasioned these charges. 
But it was that conduct which enables me now, 
when the day of judgment is come, to look my 
judges in the face. It was that conduct which 
enables me now to lay my hand upon my heart, 
and most solemnly to declare to this House, to the 
gallery and to the whole world at large, that I 
never in a single instance lost sight of what I 
thought the honour and true interest of my 
country and the Company ; that I was never 
guilty of any acts of violence or oppression, unless 
the bringing of offenders to justice can be deemed 
so ; that as to extortion, such an idea never entered 
into my mind ; that I did not suffer those under 
me to permit any acts of violence, oppression or 
extortion ; that my influence was never employed 
for the advantage of any man, contrary to the 
strictest principles of honour and justice ; and that, 
so far from reaping any benefit myself from the 
expedition, I returned to England many thousand 
pounds out of pocket — a fact of which this House 
will presently be convinced.' x 

1 It is evident that Clive here refers to his last government of 


Clive then proceeded to deal in detail with the 
charges contained in the papers sent to him by the 
Court of Directors. They referred to monopolies 
which had been established by the Government of 
Bengal in cotton and diamonds, and also in salt, 
betel and tobacco. As to cotton, he averred that 
he knew no more about it than the Pope of 
Rome. Trade was not his profession. As to the 
establishment of a gold coinage, it was a subject 
of which he had no personal knowledge. It was 
very much out of his sphere. The object of the 
Select Committee was, by establishing a gold 
coinage, to obviate the evils resulting from the 
drain of silver to China and other places. He had 
never sent a single rupee or gold mohur to be 
coined in his life. It was alleged that the 
monopolies in salt, betel nut and tobacco, and other 
commodities, had occasioned the late famine in 
Bengal. To this Clive replied that he could not 
understand how a monopoly of salt, betel and 
tobacco in the years 1765 and 1766 could occasion 
a want of rain and scarcity of rice in 1770. He 
went into the question of the inland trade, and 
showed how completely his action in regard to it 
had been in accordance with the orders of the 
Court. As to the tax upon salt, he remarked that 
the Select Committee had established the plan 
which had been adopted, 'upon experience and 
a thorough knowledge of the Company's interest,' 


while the conduct of the Court of Directors in 
abolishing it was ' founded upon obstinacy and 

The attack upon this occasion was directed 
almost entirely against Clive's last administration, 
and as there was no fault to be found with that 
administration, but on the contrary it had been 
signalised by services of the highest merit, the 
attack in all probability would have failed, had not 
Clive taken advantage of the occasion to denounce 
the mal-administration both of His Majesty's Govern- 
ment and of the Court of Directors. His denuncia- 
tion of these bodies, and especially of the Government, 
was an error in tact which was largely, if not en- 
tirely, responsible for the issue of the debate. As one 
of Clive's biographers has told us, 1 it was remarked 
by his best friends on this occasion that c he had never 
spoken with greater eloquence, or with more evil 
tendency as regarded himself.' He denounced the 
policy, or rather the want of policy, of the Govern- 
ment as deficient in courage and in foresight, while 
at the same time their treatment of the Company 
was grasping and unfair. ' The Company,' he said, 
' had acquired an empire more extensive than any 
kingdom in Europe, France and Russia excepted. 
They had acquired a revenue of four millions 
sterling, and a trade in proportion. It was natural 
to suppose that such an object would have merited 

1 Gleig's Life of Lord Cl'rve, p. 295. 


the most serious attention of Administration ; ! that 
in concert with the Court of Directors, they would 
have considered the nature of the Company's charter, 
and have adopted a plan adequate to such possessions. 
Did they take it into consideration ? No, they did 
not. They treated it rather as a South Sea bubble 
than as anything solid and substantial ; they thought 
of nothing but the present time, regardless of the 
future. They said, " Let us get what we can to- 
day, let to-morrow take care of itself;" they 
thought of nothing but the immediate division of 
the loaves and fishes ; nay, so anxious were they 
to lay their hands upon some immediate advantage, 
that they actually went so far as to influence a 
parcel of temporary proprietors to bully the 
Directors into their terms. It was their duty, 
Sir, to have called upon the Directors for a plan ; 
and if a plan in consequence had not been laid 
before them, it would then have become their 
duty, with the aid and assistance of Parliament, 
to have formed one themselves. If Administration 
had done their duty, we should not now have 
heard a speech from the Throne intimating the 
necessity of Parliamentary interposition to save our 
possessions in India from impending ruin.' 

Not less emphatic was Clive's condemnation of the 

1 The word ' Administration ' seems to have been constantly used in 
those days where we should now use the word * Government.' It was 
frequently used in this sense by Clive, and also by Edmund Burke. 


Court of Directors. He especially denounced their 
recent action in yielding to the Court of Proprietors, 
and abandoning the prosecutions of the officials who 
had been dismissed or suspended for having' violated 
the orders of the Court against the acceptance of 
presents. He said that by dropping these prosecutions 
the Directors i gave a stab to their own vitals. From 
that instant they destroyed their own power abroad, 
and erased from the minds of their servants in India 
every wholesome regulation which the Committee 
had established. The servants abroad were in anxious 
suspense to learn whether they were punishable, or 
not, for misconduct. The lenity or weakness of the 
Court of Directors confirmed their doubts. From that 
instant all covenants were forgotten, or only looked 
upon as so many sheets of blank paper, and from that 
instant began that relaxation of government so much 
now complained of, and so much still to be dreaded.' 

The Court of Proprietors and the General Courts, 
at which the Court of Directors and the Court of 
Proprietors sat together, received no mercy from him. 
Their violent proceedings, he alleged, had subverted 
the authority of the Directors, which was further 
weakened by the system of annual contested elections 
for the Direction. 

Clive was answered in a violent, but by no means 
convincing, speech by Governor Johnston, a brother 
of the Mr Johnston who had led the opposition to 
Clive in the Bengal Council. The motion for the 


introduction of the Bill was passed without a division, 
and on the 13th April it was laid on the table, but 
it never took its place on the Statute-book ; for after 
the second reading, another member, Colonel Burgoyne, 
apparently in concert with Sullivan, moved for the 
appointment of a select Committee c to inquire into 
the nature, state and condition of the East India 
Company, and of the British affairs in the East Indies.' 
This motion was also carried without a division, 
though not without considerable discussion, Edmund 
Burke, among other members, protesting warmly 
against the proposed inquiry. The Select Committee 
was composed of thirty-one members. It included 
Clive and his former Secretary, Mr Henry Strachey, 
but it was mainly composed of members hostile to 
Clive. It speedily became apparent that the inten- 
tion was to place Clive upon his trial. He was 
closely cross-examined as to the events of 1757 before 
and after Plassey, including the episode of Omichand 
and the presents received by him from Mir Jafar. 
He was questioned not only as to his acts, but as 
to his motives ; but he bore himself with unfailing 
firmness. He admitted and justified everything he 
had done. When questioned as to the fraud played 
upon Omichand, and as to his having forged Admiral 
Watson's signature, he boldly avowed both these 
incidents, and said that in the same circumstances he 
would do the same things over again. He frankly 
admitted the receipt of enormous presents from Mfr 


Jafar ; but contended that as the law stood he was 
not debarred by any consideration, either of honour 
or of duty, from receiving them. Addressing the 
chairman at the close of a long cross-examination, 
he exclaimed : ' Am I not rather deserving of praise 
for the moderation which marked my proceedings ? 
Consider the situation in which the victory at 
Plassey had placed me. A great prince was depend- 
ent on my pleasure ; an opulent city lay at my 
mercy ; its richest bankers bid against each other 
for my smiles ; I walked through vaults which were 
thrown open to me alone, piled on either hand with 
gold and jewels ! Mr Chairman, at this moment I 
stand astonished at my own moderation ! ' 

In the course of a few weeks the Select Committee 
issued two reports, which were at once printed and 
circulated broadcast through the country, Clive's 
enemies hoping thereby to prejudice the public mind 
against him. The result was not exactly what they 
anticipated, for while the lower classes generally 
accepted their views, the more intelligent members 
of the community could not help admiring the 
straightforward courage with which Clive met the 
charges, the frankness of his admissions, and the 
manliness and dignity of his bearing. 

The King took an early opportunity of manifest- 
ing his favourable sentiments towards Clive. Three 
weeks after the reports of the Select Committee had 
been laid on the table of the House of Commons, 


Clive was invested with the Order of the Bath. In 
the course of the year he was appointed Lord-Lieu- 
tenant of Shropshire, the county to which he belonged, 
and also of Montgomeryshire. But his enemies were 
not prepared to desist from their attacks upon him 
without a further struggle. At the opening of the 
session of 1773, the Select Committee resumed its 
inquiries, and on the 10th May, Colonel Burgoyne 
moved the following resolutions : — 

1st. That all acquisitions made under the influence 
of a military force, or by treaty with foreign princes, 
did of right belong to the State. 

2d. That to appropriate acquisitions so made, to 
the private emolument of persons entrusted with any 
civil or military power of the State, is illegal. 

3d. That very great sums of money, and other 
valuable property, had been acquired in Bengal from 
princes and others of that country by persons en- 
trusted with the civil and military powers of the State 
by means of such powers, which sums of money and 
valuable property have been appropriated to the 
private use of such persons. 

These resolutions were obviously directed against 
Clive, but in order that there might be no doubt upon 
the subject, Burgoyne, when moving them, made a 
direct and violent attack upon Clive, and intimated 
that, in the event of the resolutions being passed, he 
should follow them up by moving : c That persons who 
had acquired sums of money by presents or otherwise 


in India, if they had acquired such sums by virtue of 
their acting in a public capacity, should be forced to 
make restitution.' 

The resolutions were all carried, the Prime Minister 
and the Attorney-General (Thurlow) voting for 
them, while the Solicitor- General (Wedderburn) 
voted and made a forcible speech against them. A 
few days later Burgoyne moved the further re- 
solution of which he had given notice. It was in 
these words : — 

'That it appears to this House that Robert Lord 
Clive, Baron of Plassey in the Kingdom of Ireland, 
about the time of the deposing of Suraj ud Daulah, 
Nawab of Bengal, and the establishing of Mir Jafar 
on the Masnad, did, through the influence of the 
powers with which he was entrusted as a member 
of the Select Committee and Commander-in-Chief 
of the British forces, obtain and possess himself of 
two lakhs and 80,000 rupees, as member of the Select 
Committee ; a further sum of two lakhs of rupees as 
Commander-in-Chief; and a further sum of sixteen 
lakhs of rupees or more under the denomination of 
private donation ; which sums, amounting together to 
twenty lakhs and 80,000 rupees, were of the value, 
in English money, of ^234,000 ; and that in so 
doing the said Robert Lord Clive abused the powers 
with which he was entrusted, to the evil example of 
the servants of the public' 

The motion was followed by a debate, in the course 


of which Clive made another speech, 1 in which he 
recapitulated his services, and referred to the approval 
which on several occasions they had received from 
the Court of Directors. After reading to the House 
more than one letter from the Court expressing their 
full approval of all his proceedings, he said : — 

1 After such certificates as these, Sir, am I to be 
brought here as a criminal, and the very best parts 
of my conduct construed as a crime against the State ? 
Is this the reward that is now held out to persons 
who have performed such important services to their 
country ? If it is, Sir, the future consequences that 
will attend the execution of any important trust, 
committed to the persons who have the care of it, 
will be fatal indeed ; and I am sure the noble lord 
upon the Treasury Bench, whose great humanity and 
abilities I revere, would never have consented to the 
resolutions that were passed the other night if he 
had thought on the dreadful consequences that would 
attend them. 

1 Sir, I cannot say that I either sit or rest easy when 
I find by the extensive resolution proposed that all I 
have in the world is to be confiscated, and that no 
one will henceforward take my security for a shilling. 
These, Sir, are dreadful apprehensions to remain under, 
and I cannot look upon myself but as a bankrupt ; 
nothing my own, and totally unable to give any 
security while these resolutions are pending. Such, 

1 Appendix II, 


Sir, is the situation I am in. I have not anything 
left which I can call my own except my paternal 
fortune of £s°° P er annum, which has been in the 
family for ages past. But upon this I am content 
to live, and perhaps I shall find more real content of 
mind and happiness therein than in the trembling 
affluence of an unsettled fortune. 

c But, Sir, I must make one more observation, that 

if the definition of the honourable gentleman (General 

Burgoyne) and of this House is that the State, as 

expressed in these resolutions, is quoad hoc the 

Company, then, Sir, every farthing that I enjoy is 

granted to me. But to be called, after sixteen years 

have elapsed, to account for my conduct in this 

manner, and after an uninterrupted enjoyment of my 

property, to have it questioned and considered as 

obtaining it unwarrantably, is hard indeed, and a 

treatment I should not think the British Senate 

capable of. But if it should be the case, I have a 

conscious innocence within me that tells me my 

conduct is irreproachable. " Frangas non Jlectes" 

They may take from me what I have. They may 

as they think, make me poor, but I will be happy. 

I mean not this as my defence, though I have done 

for the present. My defence will be made at that 

bar, and before I sit down I have one request to 

make to the House, that when they come to decide 

upon my honour, they will not forget their own.' 

After Clive sat down, the debate was adjourned to 


the 2 1 st May, when Burgoyne's motion, the text of 
which has been already given, was put to the vote. 
It was at once moved as an amendment by Mr 
Stanley that the first part of the motion ending with 
the words c English money, of ^234,000 ' should be 
put separately. Mr Rose Fuller, who seconded the 
amendment, added to it a clause that the words 
4 through the influence of the powers with which he 
was entrusted as a member of the Select Committee 
and Commander-in-Chief of the British forces,' 
should be left out. This occasioned a long debate, 
at the end of which Mr Stanley's amendment, as 
further amended by Mr Fuller, was carried by a 
majority of 155 votes against 95. 

Burgoyne then made a final attempt to carry his 
point by moving that i Lord Clive did, in so doing, 
abuse the powers with which he was entrusted to the 
evil example of the servants of the public' The 
majority of the House, who had just negatived a 
similar motion, were not prepared to accept this, and 
the previous question was carried without a division. 
Finally, at five o'clock in the morning, it was moved 
by Wedderburn and carried, also without a division, 
that ' Robert Lord Clive did at the same time render 
great and meritorious services to his country.' Thus 
ended this extraordinary inquiry, which, although 
not technically a trial, was one in reality. The result 
was to relieve Clive from further anxiety as to his 


There was more than one noteworthy feature 
connected with these proceedings. Before they 
concluded, the Prime Minister perceived that the 
real, indeed the sole, object of the Select Committee 
was to injure Clive, and that its investigations did 
not tend to throw any light upon the affairs of the 
East India Company, at that time most seriously em- 
barrassed. He therefore obtained, at the commence- 
ment of the Session of 1773, the appointment of a 
Committee of Secrecy, composed of thirteen members, 
with power to examine the books of the Company, 
and with instructions to report upon its financial 
position, and also to state whether the Directors 
should be allowed to carry out a proposal which 
they had made, to send out six Supervisors to 
superintend the affairs of India. The existence at 
the same time of two Committees of the House of 
Commons, both dealing with the affairs of India, 
has been described as a strange anomaly, and it is 
probable that the two Committees at times travelled 
over the same ground ; but the objects with which 
the two Committees were appointed were different. 
The object sought in the appointment of the 
Select Committee was, it is clear, to ruin Clive. 
The object in view in the appointment of the 
Committee of Secrecy was to reform Indian adminis- 
tration. The first Committee failed in its object. 
It inflicted upon Clive a protracted torture. It 
probably helped to shorten his life ; but it failed to 


deprive him of his property, and it did not materially 
injure his reputation. The verdict with which the 
inquiry conducted by the Select Committee closed 
was not at all the sort of verdict which Sullivan 
and Clive's other enemies had in view. On the 
other hand, the inquiries held by the Committee of 
Secrecy were followed by some useful reforms, most 
of them in accordance with recommendations 
previously made by Clive. Of these the most 
important was the Regulating Act of 1773, which, 
though defective in some respects, was a great 
improvement upon the state of things which 
previously existed. It created a Governor-General 
with control over the whole of British India. It 
substituted for the cumbersome arrangement of a 
Council composed of sixteen members, with a Select 
Committee which could overrule the decisions of 
the Council, a Council composed of four members. 
It substituted four years for one year as the period 
for which the Directors of the Company were to 
hold their seats, and it raised the qualification for a 
vote at the election of the Directors. Its great defect 
was that it withheld from the Governor-General 
the power of overruling his Council, a power which 
Clive had asked for when he was sent out to India 
in 1764. The withholding of this power was the 
main cause of Warren Hastings's difficulties, although 
the latter were doubtless in no small measure due 
to the extraordinary unfitness of some of the men 


appointed to the new Council, and especially of Sir 
Philip Francis. 

The proceedings of the Select Committee were 
characterised by a vindictive spirit which was extremely 
discreditable to the House of Commons. James Mill, 
who, in his History of British India, took, as a general 
rule, by no means a favourable view of Clive's conduct 
and character, condemns the Parliamentary proceed- 
ings against Clive in language, the justice of which 
it is impossible to dispute. He writes, c The considera- 
tions which fairly recommended the rejection or at 
least a very great modification of the general pro- 
ceedings, were not so much as mentioned ; the 
punishment threatened was more grievous than the 
offence ; it was punishment by an ex post facto law, 
because, however contrary to the principles of right 
government, the presents received from Mir Jafar, 
and however odious to the moral sense the deception 
practised upon Omichand, there was no law at the 
time which forbade them ; the presents, however 
contrary to European morals and ideas, were per- 
fectly correspondent to those of the country in which 
they were received, and to the expectations of the 
parties by whom they were bestowed ; the treachery 
to Omichand was countenanced and palliated by 
some of the principles and many of the admired 
incidents of European diplomacy ; Clive, though 
never inattentive to his own interests, was actuated 
by a sincere desire to promote the prosperity of the 


Company, and appears not in any instance to have 
sacrificed what he regarded as their interests to his 
own ; and it would have required an extraordinary 
man, which no one ought to be punished for not 
being, to have acted in that most trying situation in 
which he was placed with greater disinterestedness 
than he displayed.' J 

We have said that the verdict of the House of 
Commons relieved Clive from anxiety as to his 
future. But it did not relieve him from the 
consequences of the heavy strain, both mental and 
physical, to which he had been exposed during the 
time the inquiry lasted, extending over the greater 
part of two Sessions, and the interval between them. 
While the strain continued, Clive bore up against 
it with the unfailing courage which he invariably 
evinced in times of difficulty. But when the inquiry 
terminated and the strain was removed, he seems 
to have gradually collapsed. The maladies which he 
had brought with him from India, induced by a life of 
constant exposure and fatigue in an unhealthy climate, 
and aggravated rather than alleviated by a free and 
increasing use of opium, would seem not only to 
have sapped his physical strength, but to have 
caused extreme mental depression. He suffered 
much from gall-stones. He tried the waters of Bath, 
and again visited the Continent, but none of the 
remedies which were prescribed afforded permanent 

1 Mill's History of British India, vol. iii. pp. 358-359. 


relief. Notwithstanding all he had undergone, he 
still had many of the blessings of life. He had a 
beautiful and accomplished wife, devotedly attached 
to him, affectionate sons and daughters, and a large 
body of friends, most of whom had stood by him during 
all his troubles. Added to these advantages, he was 
in possession, now secure, of a magnificent fortune, 
which enabled him to gratify his generous instincts 
in conferring benefits upon his family and friends. 
He was still in early middle age, and might, had he 
desired it, have taken an active part in politics, 
if indeed he had not been again employed in a mili- 
tary capacity, in which he had already so greatly dis- 
tinguished himself. It has been said that the Govern- 
ment contemplated employing him in America, in 
the war which was then looming in the near 
future, and it is not improbable that in this event, 
as more than one of his biographers has suggested, 
the independence of the United States might have 
been postponed for another half-century. The one 
thing he lacked was that greatest blessing of all, 
unimpaired health. His physical sufferings, added 
to a tendency to mental depression which had 
characterised him from an early age, were doubtless 
in a great measure responsible for his melancholy 
end, although there can be little question that 
it was hastened by the trying events of the 
previous two years. Some years before his death, 
in a letter addressed to his friend and secretary, 


Henry Strachey, Clive had used the following 
language : — 

c I suffer in the manner I did on board the Britannia, 
both from the bile and from my former nervous com- 
plaint, but not more, which convinces me the roots of 
both disorders still remain, and I much fear I must be 
unhappy as long as I live, tho' I am certain there is 
nothing mortal in either of them, and, in all proba- 
bility, I shall drag on a miserable life for 15 or 20 
years longer, as I have already done since the year 
1752. That I am fatter and stronger since I landed 
at Portsmouth is certain, that I can trot on horseback 
for 15 to 20 miles together, use more exercise, and 
have left offophium entirely. 

' Vezenas, April 22, 1768.' 

And a few days before the end came, in a letter to 
the same correspondent, he used language still more 
despondent, — 

' How miserable,' he wrote, * is my condition. I 
have a disease which makes life insupportable, but 
which doctors tell me won't shorten it an hour.' 

Clive's death took place on the 22d November 
1774, when he was little more than forty-nine years 
of age. The manner of it, and the circumstances 
which attended it, like most things about Clive, 
were extraordinary. The following account is taken 
from Gleig's Life: — 

c A female friend, it appears, was on a visit at his 
house. He had suffered extremely throughout the 


whole of the 21st November, and was driven more 
than was usual with him to seek relief in strong 
doses of laudanum. The same process continued 
during the early part of the 22d ; but that his reason 
was not clouded, nor his self-possession taken away, 
the following fact seems to prove. About noon on 
the 22d, or a little later, the lady came into his room 
and said, C( Lord Clive, I cannot find a good pen ; 
will you be so good as to make me one ? " u To 
be sure," replied he ; and taking a penknife from 
his waistcoat pocket, he moved towards one of the 
windows and mended the pen. The lady received 
it back with thanks, and withdrew. In a short time 
afterwards, a servant entering found Lord Clive dead ; 
and the instrument with which he had destroyed him- 
self proved, on examination, to be the same small 
knife with which he had mended his friend's pen.' 
There is, however, another account of Clive's 
death, given by Sir Edward Strachey, and quoted 
in an article in the Spectator for the 4th November 
1893, which differs from that given above, and is to 
the effect that on the day on which Clive committed 
suicide, he and Lady Clive, together with Mr and 
Mrs Strachey and Miss Ducarrel (the lady above 
referred to), were in a room in Clive's house in 
Berkeley Square, 1 when Clive left the room, and on 

1 Sir Edward iStrachey, who has kindly communicated on the 
subject with the writer of this Memoir, now adds that some of the 
party, including Clive, were playing at whist. 


his not returning, Mr Strachey advised Lady Clive 
to see where he was. c She went to look for him, 
and at last, opening a door, found him with his 
throat cut.' In the following number of the Spectator 
(November n, 1893) there is a letter from Sir 
Frederick Halliday, the oldest, and one of the most 
eminent of the Bengal civil servants still living, who 
is a grandson of Miss Ducarrel, or properly Ducarel. 
In this letter Sir F. Halliday repeats the story, as told 
by Gleig, on the authority of his grandmother, whom 
he describes as a woman with a strong, clear head, 
who lived on to 1834, when she was ninety-two 
years old. The two accounts would be reconcilable 
were it not that Sir Frederick states that Clive, after 
mending the pen, went into another apartment, and 
immediately put an end to himself — the point is not 
perhaps of much importance. 

Clive was buried in the churchyard at Moreton Say, 
the parish in which he was born. 







The career of Clive was a very remarkable one, 
whether we consider the position and reputation 
which he, beginning life as a clerk in the service 
of a mercantile company, was able to achieve at a 
very earlv age ; or the combination of administrative 
capacity in civil affairs with military genius of the 
highest order ; or the difficulties under which he 
laboured, arising from a temperament peculiarly sus- 
ceptible of nervous depression, and from a physique 
by no means strong ; or the shortness of the time 
in which his work was done. 

Perhaps the most extraordinary part of the story 
is the very few years which it took to lay the found- 
ation of the British Indian Empire. Clive received 
his first military commission in 1747, and his first 
course of service in India was brought to a close in 
February 1753. In that brief period, amounting to 
less than six years, Clive by his defence of Arcot, by 
his victory at Kaveripak, and by the other operations 


in which he was engaged in the South of India, at 
the age of twenty-seven established his reputation 
as a military commander. His second visit to India, 
which included Plassey and the establishment of 
British ascendancy in Bengal, lasted only from 27th 
November 1755 to 25th February 1760, or little 
more than four years. His third and last visit, in 
which he laid the foundations of regular government 
in Bengal, was cut short by ill health in twenty-two 
months. Clive's real work in India thus occupied, 
all told, a little less than twelve years. 

In spite of all that has been written about Clive, a 
considerable amount of misconception regarding his true 
character exists even to this day. The common esti- 
mate of him still is that he was a brave and able, but 
violent and unscrupulous man. The prejudice against 
him which embittered the latter years of his life, al- 
though in a great degree unfounded, has not yet entirely 
passed away. In a modern poem, entitled 'Clive's 
Dream before Plassey,' x Clive is thus apostrophised : — 

1 Violent and bad, thou art Jehovah's servant still, 
And e'en to thee a dream may be an Angel of His will. 

Macaulay's statement that t Clive, like most men 
who are born with strong passions and tried by strong 
temptations, committed great faults, but that our 
island has scarcely ever produced a man more truly 
great either in arms or in council,' is not only more 

1 Ex Eremo, poems chiefly written in India, by H. G. Keene. London, 


generous but more just. The transactions upon 
which Clive has been chiefly attacked are the fraud 
upon Omichand and the pecuniary arrangement with 
Mir Jafar. For the fraud upon Omichand it is 
impossible to offer any defence. It was not only 
morally a crime, but, regarded merely from the point 
of view of political expediency, it was a blunder of a 
kind which, if it had been copied in after times, 
would have deprived our Government in India of 
one of the main sources of its power — the implicit 
confidence of the natives in British faith. It is 
sometimes suggested, in defence of Clive's action in 
this matter, that Watts and some of the other parties 
to the conspiracy against the Nawab were in the 
power of the latter, and that their lives would cer- 
tainly have been sacrificed had Omichand disclosed 
the conspiracy ; but this argument ignores the fact 
that Omichand's silence would have been equally 
purchased by meeting his demand, instead of resorting 
to a discreditable trick which left an indelible stain 
upon Clive's reputation and upon the British name. 
For the acceptance of the sum of money, large as 
it was, which Mir Jafar presented to Clive after Plassey, 
and of the Jagir which he subsequently conferred upon 
him, there is something to be said, if not in justifica- 
tion, at all events in extenuation. The East India 
Company at that time tacitly sanctioned the accept- 
ance by their servants of presents from the native 
powers, paying them miserable salaries, but allowing 


them to enrich themselves by trade ami presents. That 
Clive would have scorned for the sake of personal gain, 
under any circumstances, to take a course which he 
knew to be inconsistent with the interests of his country, 
is proved by the whole of his career, and among other 
instances by his conduct in making war on his own 
responsibility upon the Dutch, at the time when a 
great part of his fortune was in hands of the Dutch 
East India Company. And whatever errors he 
committed in the two transactions above referred to, 
those errors were nobly redeemed by the energetic 
onslaught which he made during his second govern- 
ment of Bengal upon the system of oppression, ex- 
tortion and corruption which then prevailed. 

It is not easy to define Clive's character. Like many 
other characters, it was full of inconsistencies. Brave 
and daring, magnanimous and generous, possessing an 
inflexible will, and in every sense a leader of men, 
he was not free from some of the defects which 
are usually associated with a vain and petty nature. 
He was greedy of praise and resented detraction. By 
no means tolerant of opposition, he yet, when con- 
vinced of the ability of a man whom he disliked, 
was willing, as a matter of public duty, to employ 
him. Perhaps the most philosophic estimate of his 
character is that embodied in Mr Mountstuart 
Elphinstone's preface x to the Rise and Progress of the 
British Power in the Eastf in which the following 

1 See .Appendix III. 


remarks are especially noteworthy : ' Clive's estimate 
of his own services, great as they were, by no means 
fell short of their actual value. This does not arise 
from any indulgence of vanity on his part ; but there 
is no occasion on which they can promote his views 
or interest, where they are not brought forward in 
an exaggerated form, with a boldness and conscious- 
ness of worth that command our respect and overcome 
our dislike to self-praise. Hence arose a marked 
peculiarity of Clive's character. After the enormous 
extent to which he profited by his situation, he 
delights to dwell on his integrity and modera- 
tion, and speaks of greed and rapacity in others 
with scorn and indignation. Convinced that the 
bounty of Mir Jafar fell short of his claims on the 
Company, he inveighs against his successors who 
receive presents which they had not earned, and 
speaks of them with disgust as the most criminal 
as well as the meanest of mankind. Nor are these 
sentiments assumed to impose upon the public. They 
are most strongly expressed in his most confidential 
letters, and appear to be drawn forth by the strength 
of his feelings. In no stage of his life did Clive 
appear with more dignity than during his persecution. 
His boasts of merit and service now appear as a 
personal resistance to calumny and oppression ; the 
spirit with which he avowed and gloried in his acts 
which excited the most clamour and odium, his 
independence towards his judges, his defiance of 



his powerful enemies, excite our interest, while they 
command our respect and admiration.' 

Clive's speeches during the inquiry in the House 
of Commons show considerable oratorical power, 
especially when we consider that action, and not 
speaking, formed the main business of his life. His 
letters were plain and to the point, if somewhat stiff 
and formal in expression. Some of them have been 
quoted in the pages of this Memoir. The following, 
addressed to Wedderburn on hearing of the death 
of his staunch friend, George Grenville, is a fair 
specimen of his style : — 

4 Bath, i8t/i November I'J'JO. 

' Dear Sir, — If the receipt of your very obliging 
and confidential letter had not roused me, I doubt 
much whether I should have prevailed upon myself to 
put pen to paper, though there is something within 
that tells me I shall at last overcome a disorder so 
very distressing both to the mind and to the body. 
Although the waters agree with me better than any 
plan I have yet tried, yet by my feelings a journey 
abroad, I fear, must be undertaken before I can obtain 
a perfect recovery of my health. 

' Mr Grenville's death, though long expected, could 
not but affect me very severely. Gratitude first 
bound me to him ; a more intimate connection after- 
words gave an opportunity of admiring his abilities 
and respecting his worth and integrity. The dis- 
solution of our valuable friend has shipwrecked all 


our hopes for the present, and my indisposition hath 
not only made me indifferent to the world of politics, 
but to the world in general. What effect returning 
health may have, I cannot answer for j but if I can 
judge for myself in my present situation, I wish to 
support that independency which will be approved 
of by my friends in particular, and by the public in 
general. My sentiments are the same as yours with 
regard to our conduct in the present times. 

1 Your delicacy towards me serves only to convince 
me of the propriety of my conduct in leaving you the 
absolute master of your own conduct in Parliament, 
free from all control but that of your own judgment, 
and I am happy in this opportunity. Your great and 
uncommon abilities must, sooner or later, place you in 
one of the first posts of this Kingdom, and you may be 
assured no man on earth wishes to see your honour and 
your independency firmly established more than I.' 

Among Clive's weaknesses were foppery in dress 
and a love of display. When on service he dressed 
very plainly ; but at other times he was much addicted 
to fine clothes, and also to splendour in the liveries of 
his domestic servants and in his general style of living. 
In this respect he appears to have somewhat resembled 
the other Anglo-Indians of the time, commonly known 
as the ' Nabobs/ who, having acquired large fortunes 
in India, sometimes by questionable methods, vied in 
their expenditure with men of rank in this country. 


Lord Chatham, in one of his speeches, gave ex- 
pression to the opinion very commonly entertained 
regarding the c Nabobs ' in these words : c For some 
years past there has been an influx of wealth into this 
country which has been attended with many fatal 
consequences, because it had not been the regular, 
natural produce of labour and honesty. The riches 
of Asia have been poured in or upon us, and have 
brought with them not only Asiatic luxury, but, I 
fear, Asiatic principles of government. Without con- 
nections, without any natural interest in the soil, the 
importers of foreign gold have forced their way into 
Parliament by such a torrent of private corruption 
as no private hereditary fortune could resist.' 

There can be no doubt that the evil repute in 
which men of this class were held had a prejudicial 
influence upon Clive in the eyes of his countrymen, 
and led the more ignorant members of the community, 
unmindful of his eminent services, to sympathise with 
his opponents. 

His great wealth, which is said to have yielded 
an income of ^40,000 a year, representing in those 
days a much larger revenue than it does at the present 
time, enabled him to indulge his taste for grandeur 
and to give full play to his general instincts. His 
mansion in Berkeley Square was lavishly furnished 
and decorated. He greatly improved his old home 
at Styche, which was usually occupied by his relatives. 
He purchased Claremont from the Duchess of New- 


castle, and expended a large sum in improving it, 
besides presenting to his friend Wedderburn a house 
in the neighbourhood, in order that he might have 
a pleasant neighbour ; but the generosity with which he 
dispensed his wealth excited envy rather than admiration. 

It cannot be said that Clive was a man of refine- 
ment either in manner or in appearance. His manner 
was often brusque, and in society he was dull, except 
when aroused by the discussion of some topic in 
which he took an interest. His figure was ungrace- 
ful. His temper, though warm, was generally kept 
under control. In some of the sterling qualities of 
human nature Clive must be accorded a high place. 
He never forgot a kindness. To his friend and bene- 
factor, Stringer Lawrence, he presented an annuity of 
^500, and he offered a similar sum to Carnac if the 
latter wished to retire from the Indian service. 

In the relations of private life, Clive's character 
appears to have been irreproachable. He was a 
generous and dutiful son, a kind brother, an affec- 
tionate husband and father, and a firm friend. 

But it is mainly by his public acts that Clive must 
be judged. His life from an early age was devoted 
to the public service. His industry, both in India 
and in England, was indefatigable. His views were 
clear and far-seeing. Mr Elphinstone, in his other- 
wise excellent summary of Clive's character l and 
career, hardly does justice to him on this point. He 

1 Appendix III., p. 300. 


savs that c Clive's views were clear within the circle 
of his vision, but they were not extensive.' When 
we remember that Clive advised the transfer of the 
government of India to the Crown nearly ioo years 
before that transfer was effected, and that he foresaw 
the conquest of Madagascar by the French, 1 which 
took place only a few years ago, it is impossible to 
maintain that Clive's views were not extensive. Few 
statesmen have discerned more clearly the possibilities 
of the future. Warren Hastings, Wellesley, and Dal- 
housie completed Clive's work, but the foundations 
of the British Empire in India were securely laid in 
those comparatively few years in which Robert Clive's 
brilliant services were rendered. All these men met 
with ingratitude from their contemporaries. The 
impeachment of Hastings, extending over seven long 
years, is a blot upon English history. The treatment 
of Wellesley by the Directors of the East India 
Company proved them incapable, at that time at all 
events, of realizing their responsibilities as governors 
of a great Empire, while the ignorant clamour against 
Dalhousie after the Mutiny took place, showed how 
speedily the recollection of splendid services may for 
a time be blotted out by disaster ; but the fame of 
all these men has stood the test of years, and of 
none more than of him who has formed the subject 
of this Memoir. 

1 Appendix I., pp. 274, 275. 



In the course of a debate in the House of Commons, 
on a motion made by Mr Sullivan, then deputy-chair- 
man of the East India Company, under date the 30th 
March 1772, for leave to bring in a Bill for the better 
regulation of the affairs of the East India Company 
and for the due administration of justice in Bengal, 
Lord Clive made the following speech : — 

Sir, it is with great diffidence that I attempt to 
speak to this House, but I find myself so particularly 
called upon that I must make the attempt, though I 
should expose myself in so doing. With what con- 
fidence can I venture to give my sentiments upon a 
subject of such national consequence, who myself 
stand charged with having been the cause of the 
present melancholy situation of the Company's affairs 
in Bengal ? This House can have no reliance on my 
opinion whilst such an impression remains unremoved. 
The House will therefore give me the leave to remove 
this impression, and to endeavour to restore myself to 
their favourable opinion, which, I flatter myself, they 
entertained of my conduct before these charges were 
exhibited against me. Nor do I wish to lay my 



conduct before the members of this House only — I 
speak likewise to my country in general, upon whom 
I put myself, not only without reluctance, but with 

It is well known that I was called upon, in the year 
1764, by a General Court, to undertake the manage- 
ment of the Company's affairs in Bengal when they 
were in a very critical and dangerous situation. It is 
as well known that my circumstances were independ- 
ent and affluent. Happy in the sense of my past 
conduct and services, happy in my family, happy in 
my connections, happy in everything but my health, 
which I lost in the Company's service, never to be 
regained. This situation, this happiness, I relin- 
quished at the call of the Company, to go to a far- 
distant, unhealthy climate, to undertake the envious 
task of reformation. My enemies will suppose that 
I was actuated by mercenary motives. But this 
House and my country at large will, I hope, think 
more liberally. They will conceive that I undertook 
this expedition from a principle of gratitude, from a 
point of honour, and from a desire of doing essential 
service to that Company under whose auspices I had 
acquired my fortune and my fame. 

My prospects on going abroad were by no means 
pleasing or encouraging ; for after a violent contest, 
thirteen Directors only were chosen who thought 
favourably of my endeavours to serve the Company ; 
the other eleven, however well they might wish to 


the Company, were not willing that their good 
purposes should be accomplished by me. They first 
gave all possible obstruction to my acceptance of the 
government, and afterwards declined investing me 
with those powers without which I could not have 
acted effectually for the benefit of the Company. 
Upon my arrival in Bengal, I found the powers 
given were so loosely and jesuitically worded that 
they were immediately contested by the Council. I 
was determined, however, to put the most extensive 
construction upon them, because I was determined to 
do my duty to my country. 

Three paths were before me. One was strewed 
with abundance of fair advantages. I might have put 
myself at the head of the Government as I found 
it. I might have encouraged the resolution which 
the gentlemen had taken, not to execute the new 
covenants which prohibited the receipt of presents ; 
and although I had executed the covenants myself, 
I might have contrived to return to England with an 
immense fortune infamously added to the one before 
honourably obtained. Such an increase of wealth 
might have added to my weight in this country, but 
it would not have added to my peace of mind ; because 
all men of honour and sentiment would have justly 
condemned me. 

Finding my powers thus disputed, I might in despair 
have given up the commonwealth and have left 
Bengal without making an effort to save it. Such 


conduct would have been deemed the effect of folly 
and cowardice. 

The third path was intricate. Dangers and diffi- 
culties were on every side. But I resolved to pursue 
it. In short, I was determined to do my duty to 
the public although I should incur the odium of 
the whole settlement. The welfare of the Com- 
pany required a vigorous exertion, and I took the 
resolution of cleansing the Augean stable. 

It was that conduct which has occasioned the 
public papers to teem with scurrility and abuse 
against me, ever since my return to England. It 
was that conduct which occasioned these charges. 
But it was that conduct which enables me now, 
when the day of judgment is come, to look my 
judges in the face. It was that conduct which 
enables me now to lay my hand upon my heart 
and most solemnly to declare to this House, to the 
gallery and to the whole world at large, that I 
never, in a single instance, lost sight of what I 
thought the honour and true interest of my country 
and the Company ; that I was never guilty of any 
acts of violence or oppression, unless the bringing 
offenders to justice can be deemed so ; that, as to 
extortion, such an idea never entered into my mind ; 
that I did not suffer those under me to commit any 
acts of violence, oppression or extortion ; that my 
influence was never employed for the advantage of 
any man, contrary to the strictest principles of honour 


and justice ; and that, so far from reaping any benefit 
myself from the expedition, I returned to England 
many thousand pounds out of pocket — a fact of 
which this House will presently be convinced. 

The House will, I hope, permit me to lay before 
them a state of the charges I have alluded to, as well 
as of the manner in which they were conveyed to me. 

The first public intimation I had of them was by 
the following letter from the Company's secretary : — 

'East India Housf, jth Jan. 1772. 

' My Lord, — The Court of Directors of the East 
India Company having lately received several papers 
containing charges respecting the management of the 
Company's affairs in Bengal, wherein your Lordship 
is made a party, I am commanded to send you the 
enclosed copies thereof, and at the same time to 
acquaint your Lordship that, if you have any observa- 
tions to make thereon, the Court of Directors would 
be glad to receive them as expeditiously as may be 
convenient to your Lordship. — I am, with great 
respect, my Lord, etc., etc. 

< P. Mitchell, Sec. 

' The Right Hon. Lord Clive.' 

My reply was to the Court of Directors as follows : — 

' Gentlemen, — I have received a letter from your 
secretary inclosing copies of several papers, which he 


informs me were lately received by you, containing 
charges respecting the management of the Company's 
affairs in Bengal, wherein I am made a party ; and at 
the same time acquainting me that, if I have any 
observations to make thereon, you will be glad to 
receive them as expeditiously as mav be convenient 
to me. 

* You have not been pleased to inform me from 
whom you received those papers ; to what end they 
were laid before you ; what resolution you have come 
to concerning them ; nor for what purpose you expect 
my observations upon them. 

'I shall, however, observe to you that upon the 
public records of the Company, where the whole of 
my conduct is stated, you may find a sufficient con- 
futation of the charges which you have transmitted to 
me. And I cannot but suppose that if any part of 
my conduct had been injurious to the service, contra- 
dictory to my engagements with the Company, or 
even mysterious to you, four years and a half since my 
arrival in England would not have elapsed before your 
duty would have impelled you to call me to account. 
— I am, gentlemen, your most obedient servant, 


' To the Hon. the Court ok Directors.' 

The charges I shall briefly state in the following 
order : — 

First, a monopoly of cotton. Trade was not my 


profession. My line has been military and political. 
I owe all I have in the world to my having been 
at the head of an army ; and as to cotton — I know 
no more about it than the Pope of Rome. 

The second charge against me is a monopoly of 
diamonds. And this also I shall get rid of in a few 
words. There are only two channels by which a 
servant of the Company can, with propriety, remit 
his fortune. The one, by paying the money into 
the treasury in India, and receiving bills upon the 
Company, payable in England ; the other, by 

By the acquisition of the Diwani, and the success- 
ful endeavours of the Select Committee, the Company's 
treasury was so rich that we could not have been 
justified in drawing bills upon the Company. It was 
necessary I should, in some mode, remit the amount 
of my Jagir. For this purpose, and for this only, I 
sent an agent into a distant and independent country 
to make purchases of diamonds. Those diamonds 
were not sent home clandestinely ; I caused them to 
be registered ; I paid the duties upon them, and these 
remittances, upon the whole, turn out three per cent, 
worse than bills of exchange upon the Company. 
This is all I know of a monopoly of diamonds. 

The third charge is frauds in the exchange and in 
the gold coinage. This is a subject very much out of 
my sphere. I am totally unacquainted with the pro- 
portions of alloy and the mixture of metals. All I 


can speak to is the principle upon which we formed 
the plan of a gold coinage. 

Everybody knows that silver is the only current 
coin in Bengal, and that gold is merely a species of 
merchandise. The Select Committee, apprehensive 
that the prodigious annual drains of silver to China 
and other places would soon occasion a scarcity of 
that metal in Bengal, considered of means to obviate 
the bad effect of those exports. We knew that there 
must be great quantities of gold in the country, and 
we hoped to make it circulate in coin. Hence the 
establishment of the gold currency. Whether it 
answered our purpose or not I cannot say, as I did 
not remain in Bengal long enough to experience the 
effect of it. But this I know, that the assay and mint 
master, by whose judgment we were guided, was a 
very able and a very honest man, and has, I under- 
stand, given a full and satisfactory explanation of his 
plan to the Court of Directors. With regard to 
myself, I shall only assert that I did not receive a 
farthing advantage from it, and that I never sent a 
single rupee or gold mohur to be coined in my life. 

The fourth charge has this extraordinary title — 
A monopoly of salt, betel nut and tobacco, and 
other commodities, which occasioned the late famine. 
How a monopoly of salt, betel nut and tobacco in 
the years 1765 and 1766 could occasion a want of 
rain and scarcity of rice in the year 1770, is past 
my comprehension. I confess I cannot answer that 


part of this article. And as to other commodities, as 
they have not been specified I cannot say anything 
to them. But with regard to the monopoly (as it 
is called) of salt, betel nut and tobacco, I will 
endeavour to explain the whole of that matter, and 
the House will permit me to dwell the longer upon 
it, as it is a point particularly insisted on by my 
adversaries. It is a part of my conduct that may 
be objected to by those who are unacquainted with 
the subject. I know it has been misunderstood and 
misrepresented even by some of my friends. They 
have imputed it to an error of judgment. Now, 
however ready I shall always be to acknowledge such 
an error, yet I hope to convince this House that no 
part of my conduct has been more unexceptionable, 
and that the plan, if it had been adopted by the 
Court of Directors, and strictly adhered to by the 
Government in Bengal, would have proved not only 
advantageous to the Company, but also beneficial to 
the country ; but the Court of Directors, alarmed 
at the word monopoly, seem never to have examined, 
and I am sure never thoroughly comprehended, the 
principles and effect of it. 

Many years ago an expensive embassy was sent 
to Delhi to obtain certain grants and privileges from 
the Great Moghul in favour of the East India 
Company, and amongst others was obtained the 
privilege of trading duty free. The servants were 
indulged with this privilege under the sanction of 


the Company's name. The Company never carried 
on any inland trade ; their commerce has been con- 
fined to exports and imports only. It is impossible 
that the servants should have a more extensive right 
than the Company itself ever had. Yet they claimed 
a privilege of carrying on an inland trade duty free. 
The absurdity of a privilege so ruinous to the natives, 
and so prejudicial to the revenues of the country, 
is obvious. At the revolution in 1757 no such claim 
was set up, nor was any such trade carried on publicly, 
or to my knowledge, during my government which 
ended in the beginning of the year 1760. 

The first appearance of this claim was in Governor 
Vansittart's time. The Nawab Kasim Ali Khan 
strongly objected to it, representing to the Governor 
and Council the fatal consequences to the black 
merchants and to the revenues of his country. Mr 
Vansittart was sensible of the justice of the Nawab's 
complaints, and soon after entered into articles of 
agreement that the English should carry on an 
inland trade in salt, paying a duty of nine per cent., 
which in fact was no remedy to the evil, because the 
natives paid infinitely more. The Council disavowed 
this act of Mr Vansittart, and insisted upon their 
right to all inland trade duty free. The Nawab, 
enraged, threw open the trade throughout his country, 
and abolished all duties, in order that his own 
subjects might trade upon an equal footing with 
the English. This on the other hand disobliged the 


Council, who insisted that the Nawab should not 
suffer even his own subjects to trade duty free, but 
that the English alone should enjoy that privilege. 
These transactions were not clearly known to the 
Court of Directors till the year 1762, when they 
disapproved of them in the strongest terms, positively 
forbidding their servants to carry on any inland 
trade whatsoever. It was nevertheless continued, and 
with exemption from duties except in the article of 
salt ; upon which a duty of two and a half per cent, 
only was agreed to be paid, by a treaty with the 
Nawab Mir Jafar, after the deposition of Kasim 
Ali Khan. 

Although the Court of Directors had been of 
opinion that the inland trade ought to be totally 
abolished, they, as well as the Proprietors, thought 
the Company's servants might be indulged in it under 
certain restrictions and regulations. In consequence 
of this idea, the General Court, on the 18th of May 
1764, came to the following resolution : — 

* Resolved that it be recommended to the Court 
of Directors to re-consider the orders sent to Bengal 
relative to the trade of the Company's servants 
in the articles of salt, betel nut and tobacco ; and 
that they do give such directions for regulating the 
same, agreeable to the interest of the Company and 
Subah, as to them may appear most prudent, either 
by settling here at home the restrictions under which 
this trade ought to be carried on, or by referring 



it to the Governor and Council of Fort William 
to regulate this important point in such a manner 
as may prevent all future disputes betwixt the Subah 
and the Company.' 

This resolution was supported by the Court of 
Directors, who in their general letter to the Governor 
and Council, dated ist of June 1764, at the time I 
went out to India, issued the following orders : — 

Par. 54. c For the reasons given in our letter of the 
8th of February last, we were then induced to send 
positive orders to put a final and effectual end to 
the inland trade in salt, betel nut and tobacco, and 
all other articles whatsoever, produced and consumed 
in the country. To the remarks we made in that 
letter we must add one observation, which is, it 
appears very extraordinary that in a trade so 
extremely lucrative to individuals, the interest of 
the Company should not have been at all attended 
to or considered. 

55. ' Those orders were sent, it is true, before 
we received the new treaty you entered into with 
Mir Jafar Ali Khan, upon his re-establishment 
in the Subahship, in which it is agreed that the 
English shall carry on their trade, by means of their 
own dusticlc, free from all duties, taxes and 
impositions in all parts of the country, excepting 
the article of salt, on which a duty of two and a half 
per cent, is to be levied on the rowanna or Hughli 
market price ; wherein it is further agreed that the 


late perwannahs issued by Kasim Ali Khan, grant- 
ing to all merchants the exemption of all duties 
for the space of two years, shall be reversed and 
called in, and the duties collected as before. 

56. c These are terms which appear to be so very 
injurious to the Nawab and to the natives that they 
cannot, in the very nature of them, tend to anything 
but the producing general heartburnings and dis- 
satisfaction ; and consequently there can be little 
reason to expect the tranquillity of the country can 
be permanent. The orders, therefore, in our said 
letter of the 8th of February are to remain in force 
until a more equitable and satisfactory plan can be 
formed and adopted, which, as it is impossible for us 
to frame here, destitute as we are of the information 
and lights necessary to guide us in settling such an 
important affair — 

57. 'You are therefore hereby ordered and directed, 
as soon after the receipt of this as may be convenient, 
to consult the Nawab as to the manner of carrying 
on the inland trade in salt, betel nut and tobacco, 
and the other articles produced and consumed in the 
country, which may be most to his satisfaction and 
advantage, the interest of the Company, and likewise 
of the Company's servants. 

58. ' You are thereupon to form a proper and 
equitable plan for carrying on the said trade, and 
transmit the same to us, accompanied by such 
explanations, observations and remarks as may enable 


us to give our sentiments and directions thereupon in 
a full and explicit manner. 

59. c In doing this, as before observed, you are to 
have a particular regard to the interest and entire 
satisfaction of the Nawab, both with respect to his 
revenues and the proper support of his government ; 
in short, this plan must be settled with his free will 
and consent, and in such a manner as not to afford 
any just grounds for complaint. 

60. ' In the next place, the utmost care and 
attention must be bestowed in forming the said plan, 
that in some proper mode or shape a just and equit- 
able consideration be secured for the Company. 

61. c If any inconveniences shall be apprehended to 
arise to the Company's investments upon carrying 
on such an inland trade, you are to give us your full 
thoughts thereupon, and in what manner they may 
be obviated. 

62. c You are to give your impartial and unbiassed 
thoughts, also, whether the carrying on this inland 
trade may affect the just rights and privileges of the 
French, Dutch or any other Europeans, and thereby 
tend to draw on any national altercations and embroils, 
which are by all means to be avoided in forming 
the said plan ; therefore you are to be particularly 
careful to prevent these, or any other evils of the 
like kind.' 

Notwithstanding these authorities, it has been 
asserted that the Select Committee in Bengal, when 


they framed a plan for carrying on the trade in 
salt, betel nut and tobacco, acted in disobedience 
to the orders of the Company. And to support 
this assertion, partial extracts have been produced 
of some of the Company's letters, which were in 
fact written in answer to those proceedings of 
former administrations in Bengal, of which I have 
already given some description. 

When the Select Committee assembled in Bengal, 
they were determined upon a thorough reformation. 
They were determined at all events to do their duty. 

It is necessary the House should know that there 
are but two ways by which gentlemen can acquire 
fortunes in Bengal — by the inland trade, and by 
presents. The export and import trade had been 
for some years dwindling away, and was not worth 
the attention of the servants. It was carried on 
chiefly by free merchants and free mariners, and 
they could scarcely live by it. The inland trade 
was, as I have shown, permitted to be carried on 
upon some equitable plan for the benefit of the 
Company, who had hitherto received no advantage 
from it, and likewise for the benefit of the Com- 
pany's servants, who hitherto had swallowed up 
the whole. 

With regard to the receipt of presents : that mode 
of raising a fortune was intended to be prevented 
by the new covenants. But we must consider a 
little the nature of the funds for presents. Every 


revolution in Bengal was attended with some 
diminution of the Nawdb's authority, and with 
some advantages to the Company. Kdsim Ali 
Khan, upon the deposition of Mir Jafar, was 
obliged to make over to the Company territorial 
possessions to the amount of between six and seven 
hundred thousand pounds per annum. Mfr Jafar, 
when he was reinstated in the Subahship, added 
above sixty thousand pounds a month more for 
the support of our army during the war ; so that 
the Company became possessed of one-half of the 
Nawab's revenues. The Nawab was allowed to 
collect the other half for himself. But in fact he 
was no more than a banker for the Company's 
servants, who could draw upon him as often and 
to what amount they pleased. 

The new covenants, indeed, which prohibited the 
receipt of presents, were intended to prevent this 
mode of raising fortunes ; but the Select Committee 
went much deeper ; they struck at the root of 
the evil by procuring the whole for the Company, 
which totally deprived the servants of this resource. 

It was not expedient, however, to draw the reins 
too tight. It was not expedient that the Company's 
servants should pass from affluence to beggary. It 
was necessary that some emoluments should accrue 
to the servants in general, and more especially to 
those in superior stations, who were to assist in 
carrying on the measures of government. The 


salary of a councillor is, I think, scarcely three 
hundred pounds per annum : and it is well known 
that he cannot live in that country for less than 
three thousand pounds. The same proportion holds 
among the other servants. It was requisite, there- 
fore, that an establishment should take place ; and 
the Select Committee, after the most mature deliber- 
ation, judged that the trade in salt, betel nut and 
tobacco, under proper regulations, might effectually 
answer the purpose. The great object of our con- 
sideration was, whether this trade could be regulated 
for the advantage of the Company, and also for 
the Company's servants, without oppressing the 
natives. We thought it could. The House will 
observe that I make no mention of the Nawab, 
because the Company, to whom the revenues now 
belonged, stood in his shoes, a circumstance which 
seems never to have been thoroughly adverted to 
by the Directors, even to this day. 

Had we only formed our plan and deferred the 
execution of it till the pleasure of the Court of 
Directors should be known, all the gentlemen in 
their service must in the meantime have been 
totally unprovided for. But the declared intention 
of the Company was that the trade in salt, betel 
nut and tobacco should be regulated, not only 
for their own advantage, but for the advantage of 
their servants. A plan was accordingly framed. I 
was up the country at the time, employed in 


settling the treaty of peace with Sujah ul Daulah, 
and obtaining from the Moghul the grant of the 
Diwani. The plan was framed principally by Mr 
Sumner, who took the medium price of salt 
throughout the country for above twenty years 
past, and fixed the price at from twelve to fifteen 
per cent, below that medium. Hence it was not 
probable that any grievance should fall upon the 
poor ; and the plan was settled for one year only, 
that we might have an early opportunity of com- 
pleting afterwards what was originally intended as 
an experiment. A duty, however, of thirty-five per 
cent, upon salt was established for the Company, 
which amounted to about ^120,000 per annum; 
and all the Company's servants except writers, and 
also all the field officers of the army, had shares, 
according to their respective rank. But I soon 
found there was some defect in this plan. It was 
really a monopoly. The trade was taken out of 
the hands of some of the merchants. The propor- 
tion of the Company's servants was too large, the 
duty to the Company was too small. The agents 
appointed to sell the salt had made an improper 
use of their power ; they had not strictly kept up 
to their contract, which was that they should 
receive five per cent, upon the sale of salt as a 
recompense for their trouble, and that they should 
not enter into any trade for themselves, under a 
very severe penalty. 


I therefore proposed a plan for the next year, 
which I think destroyed every idea of monopoly. 
The society, instead of employing agents up the 
country to dispose of the salt, were to sell it at 
Calcutta, and at the places where it was made, to 
the black merchants only, who were each limited 
to a certain quantity of purchase, and tied down 
to a price for sale at every market town. The 
duty to the Company was now established at fifty 
per cent., which would produce £160,000 per 
annum ; the black merchants were to have the 
liberty of transporting the salt all over the country, 
free from every taxation or obstruction ; and the 
strictest orders were issued that no Englishmen, or 
their agents, should directly or indirectly have any 
further concern in it. 

With regard to the price, I must inform the 
House that in Bengal salt stands the maker in 
about 2s. 6d. per maund £>y the time it reaches 
Calcutta. A maund is 80 pounds. The duty to 
the Company, and the advantages to the servants, 
were stated at about 2s. 6d. more, which 
makes upon the whole one hundred per cent. 
Salt in England, I am told, stands the maker in 
about 8d. per bushel, or 56 pounds ; and the duty 
is 3s. 4d. per bushel, which is five hundred 
per cent. I have inquired into the salt trade in 
England. I think we settled it upon rather a 
better footing in India ; for the quantity to be 


bought by any one dealer was fixed, and the 
price at which it was to be sold in every town 
throughout the kingdom, according to the distance 
from the salt pans, was also fixed. 

In London, salt is sold at 5s. a bushel, which 
is something less than a penny a pound. In India, 
salt is sold by the maund, which is, as I have said, 
80 pounds, and it comes to a rupee, or 2s. 6d., a 
maund, all expenses paid, exclusive of the duty. 
The duty, as I have informed the House, is 2s. 6d. 

Now, I will suppose that salt in Bengal sold under 
the second year's plan at the very price fixed by the 
first year's plan, then it would stand the consumer 
in about three farthings a pound at Calcutta, a penny 
a pound at distant places, and five farthings a pound 
at Patna, which is one of the most distant parts, being 
about 1200 miles by water from Calcutta. 

The whole quantity of salt contracted for by the 
society was 24 lakhs of maunds, which, multiplied 
by 80 for the number of maunds in a pound, make 
192 millions of pounds. The number of inhabitants 
I shall take upon the hon. member's (Mr Sullivan) 
computation, that is to say, 15 millions. I strike 
off 5 millions for infants and accidents. Then 
divide the 192 millions of pounds by the other 10 
millions of inhabitants, and we shall find the quantity 
of salt consumed in one year, by the rich and by the 
poor, will be under 20 pounds each. To give the 


argument its utmost scope, I allow 20 pounds to the 
poor as well as to the rich man, although it is certain 
he does not consume half the quantity. These 20 
pounds will cost the individual at Calcutta rather 
less than is. 3d., in the centre of the provinces, 
is. 8d., and at Patna, the greatest distance, rather 
less than 2s. 6d. This is the utmost of every man's 
expense in the year for salt. 

The lowest wages in Bengal are 2 rupees a 
month, which is 24 rupees, or ^3 per annum. The 
poor man can scarcely be said to be at any other 
expense than for eating. They drink nothing but 
water ; they wear no clothes ; the houses are built 
with mud or clay, thatched with straw. Now, I 
leave the House to judge whether the expense of 
from is. 3d. to 2s. 6d. a year for 20 pounds of salt, 
even to these the very poorest of the inhabitants, can 
be a grievance. The eyes of the world have been 
blinded by publications. The matter of fact is this : 
the grievance fell upon a number of black merchants 
who used to live by that trade, for the Company's 
servants not only monopolised the salt, but, by virtue 
of their influence and power, bought it at what price 
they pleased, and sold it at what price they pleased. 

To indulge my enemies to the utmost, I will allow 
for a moment, although it is not so, that in the inter- 
mediate time, between the farming of the salt trade 
by a Mussulman (for it was always a monopoly in 
the hands of Khoja Vazid, or some person or persons 


who paid large sums of money to the Nawab or his 
Ministers for the exclusive privilege) and the regula- 
tions established by the Select Committee, salt was 
sold somewhat cheaper. What does that infer ? It 
infers only this, that the Company's servants, by virtue 
of their power and authority, exonerated the salt ot 
all those duties and exactions which it was formerly 
subject to, amounting, perhaps, to two hundred per 
cent., and then made a merit of selling it cheaper to 
the inhabitants ; as if a set of men in this country, 
by their power and influence, were to decline paying 
the duty of five hundred per cent, to Government, 
and then boast of selling it at a lower price than had 
been usual. In fact, when the salt was what has been 
called an open trade, it was then the most monopolised, 
because the Company's servants traded in it to what 
extent and advantage they thought proper, as indeed 
they did in every other article of inland trade. 

In short, the Select Committee established their 
plan upon experience and a thorough knowledge of 
the Company's interest, and the conduct of the Court 
of Directors in abolishing it was founded upon ob- 
stinacy and ignorance. 

A short history of the conduct of these gentlemen 
will set the matter in its proper light. 

I have said before that the Directors disapproved 
of the trade in salt, betel nut and tobacco carried on 
by the servants from the first moment that they 
became acquainted with it. 


They positively and repeatedly ordered that they 
should have no concern in it, directly or indirectly. 
They declared that it was an infringement of the 
rights of the natives, that they had consulted the sages 
in the law, and that the servants were liable to pro- 
secution for persevering in that illicit trade. After 
this, they agreed that the Select Committee should 
regulate this trade in such a manner as might be 
advantageous to the Company and their servants with- 
out injury to the Nawab. The Committee did regu- 
late it ; a very large profit was established for the 
Company. The servants, also, were amply provided 
for, and no oppression (under the Committee's regula- 
tion) could possibly fall upon the people of the country. 
The Court of Directors disapproved of our plan, and 
did not substitute any in the room of it, neither did 
they establish any duties. They issued orders that 
their servants, who acted as sovereigns, should totally 
relinquish this trade themselves, and endeavour to 
prevent its being monopolised by any rich overgrown 
merchant of the country. They meant that it should 
be laid open to the natives, and to them only, not 
seeing that their orders could not extend to the 
servants of foreign companies, who would, of course, 
gain considerably by that trade, of which the English 
were to be deprived. 

In November 1767, and not before, the Court of 
Directors came to a determination of allowing their 
servants, in lieu of this trade, two and a half per cent. 


upon the revenues. They then also, for the first 
time, thought of establishing a duty upon salt. They 
proposed fixing it so as that it should produce to the 
Company £31,000 per annum. At this time I was 
in England ; I heard accidentally what was in agita- 
tion. I expostulated with the Court of Directors by 
letter ; I represented to them that they were doing 
the most manifest injury to the Company ; that if 
those advantages which the Select Committee had 
proposed for the servants were disapproved of, they 
ought to be enjoyed by the Company ; that those 
advantages and the duties together would amount to 
£300,000 per annum, which I thought no incon- 
siderable object. I further represented to them that 
although they should give the servants two and a half 
per cent, on the revenues in lieu of the salt trade, the 
gentlemen might still trade in that article, under the 
names of their banyans or black agents, to what 
extent they pleased. To these representations they 
paid no other attention than that of altering the pro- 
posed duty from £31,000 to £120,000 per annum. 
What was the consequence ? The servants received 
the two and a half per cent, on the revenues ; they 
traded in salt as much as ever, but without paying 
the duty, and I am well informed that the Company, 
from the time of the abolition of the Committee's 
plan to this hour, have not received a shilling duty. 
Finally, the Court of Directors suffered this branch 
of trade to revert to the very channel from whence 


had flowed all those abuses and all those misfortunes 
which they had so loudly complained of. This trade, 
contrary to their own ideas of equity to the natives, 
and contrary to the advice of the sages of the law, is 
now laid open to the English, and to every European, 
as well as native, inhabitant of Bengal, Behar and 
Orissa. The consequences of this we are still to 
learn. As the case stands at present, the Court of 
Directors have in all this time (five years) given up 
no less than ^1,500,000, which the Company ought 
to have received if the emoluments taken from the 
servants had been added to the duty proposed by the 
Select Committee. And in this sum is not included 
the two and a half per cent, commission granted out 
of the revenues. 

Having thus stated everything material relative to 
this matter, I submit to the consideration of the House 
whether the plan adopted by the Committee was for 
the benefit of the Company or not. The House will 
observe that I have spoken of the salt trade only. I 
omit mentioning the betel nut and tobacco trade, 
because the former is not an advantageous article 
in comparison with the salt trade, and the latter, 
although a part of the plan of the Committee, was 
totally relinquished. 

The Governor and Council are accused of having 
entered into a combination, by bond, to support the 
society in spite of any orders from home. Mr Bolts, 
in his book, has given a copy of the bond. The 


substance of the bond was stated in the public pro- 
ceedings of the Board sent to England for the in- 
formation of the Directors, and we applied to them 
for permission to renew the bond annually, if the 
plan of the salt trade met with their approbation. 
In that bond the committee of trade made themselves 
responsible for the duties. The contract for the 
making of salt ran for a year. The society, there- 
fore, could not be abolished before the end of the year, 
which was the first of September ; and nothing more 
seems necessary to prove we had no idea of contesting 
any orders from home, but that on the contrary we 
resolved to obey, than to read to the House the 
following resolution of the Select Committee : — 

' Resolved, that the society of trade shall be 
abolished, and the inland trade totally relinquished on 
the first day of September next, but that we fully 
express our sentiments in our next advices to the 
Company, respecting the advantages which would 
result to the service and to the country from the con- 
tinuance of this trade under the present restrictions/ 

This resolution also confutes a particular accus- 
ation against myself; for the gentleman who laid 
the charges before the Court of Directors has roundly 
asserted that, although the Company disapproved of 
the plan of the society, no order was issued during 
my government for abolishing it. 

I must in this case beg leave to inform the House 
that I, as Governor, had a proportion of advantage 



in this trade. What that proportion was, and in 
what manner I disposed of it, shall be clearly and 
accurately stated before I sit down. 

I shall now proceed to the next charge against me, 
which is peculation of revenues. And here I must 
have recourse to a minute of mine, which stands 
recorded in the India House, because I think it 
will explain this matter much more fully than I can 
do by word of mouth, and the House will see in that 
minute the ground-work of part of a Bill proposed 
to be brought in for the regulation of the Company's 
affairs abroad. 

c Lord Clive's Minute. 

< Our attention as a Select Committee, invested 
with extraordinary powers by the Court of Directors, 
has been constantly engaged in reforming the abuses 
which had crept into the several departments of this 
Government. The important work has been steadily 
prosecuted with zeal, diligence and disinterestedness 
on our parts ; and the success of our labour gives us 
reason to hope that our employers will be of opinion 
we have established many useful and necessary reg- 
ulations. Many others, however, are still wanting to 
complete our plan ; but I doubt not that the same 
principles which have hitherto guided our conduct 
will continue to direct and justify the measures we 
have yet to pursue. 

c To place the President in such a situation as will 


render his Government honourable *to himself and 
advantageous to the Company, appears to me an 
object of as much consequence as any that has been 
taken into our consideration. Where such immense 
revenues are concerned, where power and authority 
are so enlarged, and where the eye of justice and 
equity should be ever watchful, a Governor ought not 
to be embarrassed with private business ; he ought 
to be free from every occupation in which his judg- 
ment can possibly be biassed by his interest. The 
extensive commercial affairs, the study of the finances, 
the politics of the country, the epistolary correspond- 
ence, the proceedings of Council and Committee, 
these are sufficient to employ every moment of his 
time, and I am confident they cannot be conducted 
with the requisite attention to the Company's in- 
terest if the mind of the Governor be diverted by 
complicated mercantile affairs of his own. 

' If we look back on those unhappy dissensions 
which have frequently brought the Company's pos- 
sessions in Bengal almost to the point of destruction, 
we shall find that they have generally proceeded from 
the conduct of Governors, who, too eager in the 
pursuit of private interest, have involved themselves 
in affairs which could not be reconciled to the strict 
principles of integrity. To prevent scrutinies and 
discoveries which might in any degree affect their 
honour, they have frequently been reduced to the 
necessity of conniving at abuses which would other- 


wise have been brought to light and remedied. The 
welfare of this great Company should be the sole study 
of a Governor ; attached to that point alone, his 
measures could never be thwarted by the malice of 
opposition, because they would all be proposed for the 
public good ; and actions will always be justified or 
condemned from the principles on which they are 

'Such a state of independency and honour must 
be highly eligible to a Governor ; and in my opinion 
it can only be acquired by cutting off all possibility 
of his benefiting himself either by trade, or by that 
influence which his power necessarily gives him in 
these opulent provinces. 

' I therefore propose that the Governor shall in 
the most public manner, in the presence of all the 
Company's servants, the mayor and aldermen, and 
free merchants, assemble at the mayor's court, take 
the oath and execute the penalty bond annexed. 

* The consideration I have proposed is, one and one- 
eighth per cent, upon the revenues ; excepting those 
arising from the Company's own lands at Calcutta, 
Burdwan, Midnapore and Chittagong. 

c Although by these means a Governor will not be 
able to amass a fortune of a million or half a million 
in the space of two or three years, yet he will 
acquire a very handsome independency, and be in 
that very situation which a man of nice honour and 
true zeal for the service would wish to possess. Thus 


situated, he may defy all opposition in Council : he 
will have nothing to ask, nothing to propose, but 
what he means for the advantage of his employers ; 
he may defy the law, because there can be no 
foundation for a bill of discovery ; and he may 
defy the obloquy of the world, because there can 
be nothing censurable in his conduct. In short, if 
stability can be insured to such a Government as 
this, where riches have been acquired in abundance, 
in a small space of time, by all ways and means, and 
by men with or without capacities, it must be effected 
by a Governor thus restricted, and I shall think it 
an honour, if my proposal be approved, to set the 
first example.' 

In the bond herein mentioned, and which I executed, 
was inserted a penalty of^ 150,000 : ^50,000 of which 
was to go to the informer, and ^100,000 to the 
Company, if the Governor should be convicted 
of having benefited himself, directly or indirectly, 
beyond that commission. In addition to this was 
an oath to the same purport, and of as solemn 
a nature as could be devised. There were a few 
necessary exceptions in the bond and in the oath. 
The common interest for money was permitted to 
be received till remittances could be obtained. The 
purchase of diamonds for remittance to England 
was allowed, and such presents as might be received, 
under the new covenants were also allowed. But 
of this last exception I did not avail myself ; for after 


I had executed the bond, every, the most trifling, 
present, even to the value of 6d., was brought to the 
Company's credit. 

A circumstance of allegation against me is brought 
from a letter I wrote to the Court of Directors 
before I went abroad, in which I had expressed 
my disapprobation of the commission of two and a 
half per cent, that had been granted to Governor 
Vansittart on the Company's territorial possessions, 
notwithstanding which I had received a commission 
of one and one-eighth myself. The case was this : the 
Court of Directors did not think proper to restrain 
Mr Vansittart in any respect or degree. He executed 
no penalty bond. He took no restricted oath. He 
had unlimited liberty to receive presents, to trade 
to any amount ; and he had this commission of two 
and a half per cent, on the Company's territorial 
possessions into the bargain ; in short, he was at 
liberty to make what fortune he pleased. Now, the 
commission of one and one-eighth per cent, which I 
received was an establishment proposed not only for 
myself, but for all future governors in lieu of every- 
thing, in consequence of giving up every emolument 
whatsoever that might be made in that station. The 
Court of Directors, so far from disapproving of this 
commission, continued it to my successor. 

Another charge is, that I took to myself these 
advantages arising from the salt trade, and the one 
and one-eighth commission, although I had declared 


in the letter which I have just alluded to that I had 
no interested motives in accepting the government. 
With what justice this can be alleged against me, 
the House may immediately determine. 

I carried out three gentlemen with me. These 
gentlemen I certainly meant to serve, but I meant to 
serve them in a way that should be honourable for 
themselves and honourable for me, and that should 
at the same time be consistent with the interest of 
the Company. One was Mr Maskelyne, a relation 
of mine. A friendship commenced between us in 
our early years. We began life together. We 
were both of us writers in the Company's service 
in the year 1745 ; we were both made prisoners in 
Madras, when it was taken by M. La Bourdonnais ; 
we made our escape together ; we then entered 
into the military service together as ensigns ; we 
served together at the siege of Pondicherry ; we went 
into the field together ; but our fates were very 
different ; he was a second time taken prisoner. This 
misfortune put a stop to all his prospects, whilst I 
went on in a career of success. He continued in 
the civil and military service till he was of the rank 
of Council, and after fifteen years' service in India, 
was obliged by ill health to return to his native 
country, not worth ^3000 in the world. I thought 
him entitled to some share of my affluence, but what 
I did for him was not sufficient to make his circum- 
stances perfectly independent ; for these reasons I 


took him with me on my last expedition. Another 
gentleman was my secretary, now a member of this 
House. He was recommended to me by one of the 
greatest men in the kingdom, now no more, Mr 
Grenville. Many and great are the obligations I 
have been under to him, but the greatest of all the 
obligations was his having recommended me to this 
gentleman. Without his abilities and indefatigable 
industry, I could never have gone through my great 
and arduous undertaking, and in serving me he 
served the Company. The third gentleman was Mr 
Ingham, a surgeon, who quitted a profession of some 
hundreds a year to accompany me to Bengal. 

I stood in a particular point of view ; my situation 
was nice and critical ; the eyes of the whole settle- 
ment were upon me. It was difficult for me to take 
any steps with regard to those gentlemen without 
being condemned. They had executed no covenants ; 
I might have suffered them to receive presents to any 
amount : the world would then have said that I 
carried them out with me in order to evade my own 
covenants, and to receive presents for me, as well 
as for themselves. I might have granted them the 
privilege of trade, the advantage of which, under my 
favour and credit, might have been to any amount. 
The objection to this also was obvious : it would have 
been said that my own interest was at the bottom ; 
that they traded under my influence ; and that the 
extent of their concerns interfered with persons who 


had a better right. It was therefore determined that 
they should not benefit themselves a farthing but by 
what they should receive from my hands. 

My share, as Governor, in the salt society, and also 
the manner in which it was disposed of, were publicly 
known both here and abroad before my return to 
England ; and yet this latter has of late been con- 
sidered as something clandestine. But I think I can 
prove to the satisfaction of this House that it was 
known to everybody. 

In the beginning of the year 1767, a General Court 
was called for the purpose of rewarding my services. 
A continuation of ten years of the Jagir was proposed. 
In opposition to this, some people urged that I was 
benefiting myself largely abroad. A friend of mine, 
an hon. member of this House, hereupon read to the 
Court an extract from a letter he had received from 
me upon that subject. Before the question was 
balloted for, he printed this letter in handbills, and 
also published it repeatedly in all the newspapers. I 
have one of them, which was printed at that time, 
now in my hands, and with permission will read it. 

c That his lordship has been adding to his fortune 
abroad is most untrue ; his friends defy the bitterest 
of his enemies to support the charge. A solemn 
asseveration in that respect from Lord Clive himself 
was read in Court by the friends to whom Lord Clive 
had addressed his letter ; and it is now submitted to 
print in order to discredit assertions which are false ; 


or else to remain in public testimony against his 

Extract of a Letter from Lord Clive, dated 
Calcutta, 30th September 1765. 

' That you may assert with confidence the justice 
of my cause, I do declare, by the God who made me, 
it is my absolute determination to refuse every present 
of consequence, and that I will not return to England 
with one rupee more than what arises from my 
Jagir. My profits arising from salt shall be divided 
among those friends who have endangered their lives 
and constitutions in attending me. The congratula- 
tory nazzars, etc., shall be set opposite to my extra- 
ordinary expenses ; and if aught remains, it shall go 
to Poplar or some other hospital.' 

In Mr Bolts' book is a copy of a bond, by which 
it appears that I sold my concern in salt for ^32,000. 
I do acknowledge there is such a bond, but the sum 
actually received by me on that account amounted 
only to about ^10,800. The fact was this : I could 
not think of suffering the three before-mentioned 
gentlemen who had accompanied me to India to 
return to England without realising something on 
their account ; I said so to my friends in Bengal. 
The salt concern was of a very extensive, tedious 
nature, and the accounts might not be made up in 
some years. Could I, in honour, leave those gentle- 
men in a situation which made it doubtful when they 


should receive anything, and to what amount ? I 
told them I would not : I told them I would get 
rid of this salt concern at once, that they might be 
secure of the money amongst them. I therefore 
disposed of my whole concern in salt, even my share 
for the second year, which was just commenced, for 
the sum mentioned in the bond. But when the mode 
of a commission of one and one-eighth per cent, on 
the revenues was settled for the Governor in lieu of 
every other emolument, I then relinquished my share 
in salt for that year (the second year) in which I was 
to receive the commission, and had paid back about 
^20,000 of the ^32,000. 

It now remains, Sir, for me to show that my own 
interest was not the motive of my going to India. 

I have here an account of every sixpence I received 
or disbursed from the day of my leaving England to 
the day of my return. It is taken from my books, 
which were kept all the time I was in India by Mr 
Verelst, who will readily attest their accuracy. I 
omit the first part of this account, because it was 
transmitted to the Court of Directors, and stands 
upon record in the India House. The other part I 
will read. The House will observe that in this 
account there are the names of others whom I 
rewarded besides the gentlemen I have mentioned. 
One was an old servant who went out with me ; and 
the others were young gentlemen in my secretary's 


The balance against me, upon the whole, is 
^58 1 6. 1 Now, sir, I have no objection to having 
this account lodged among the records of this House, 
that it may stand in judgment for or against me if 
future Commissioners, either on the part of the Crown 
or the East India Company, should ever think a 
retrospection into my conduct necessary. 

There is only one circumstance more with which 
I shall trouble the House ; and I do assure them I 
should be ashamed to touch upon it, as it may carry 
with it an appearance of vanity, were not my honour 
and reputation so much at stake. It was in my 
power to have taken from my enemies every shadow 
of pretence for arraigning my conduct, on account of 
these profits, as they have been called, of my Govern- 
ment. I could have rewarded those gentlemen much 
more liberally without the possibility of an accusa- 
tion. But I should not have acted so much to my 
own satisfaction, nor, I believe, so much to that of 
the House, if I had neglected the opportunity that 
offered of doing something essentially beneficial to 
the East India's Company's service. 

The old Nawab, Mir Jafar, if ever Mussulman had 
a friendship for a Christian, had a friendship for me. 
When the news of my appointment to the govern- 

1 It has not been thought necessary to insert the figured statement in 
this Appendix. It clearly shows that Clive, instead of having added to 
his fortune during his last administration of Bengal, was a loser to the 
extent of £5816. 


ment reached Bengal, lie immediately quitted Muxa- 
davad, 1 came down to Calcutta, impatiently waited 
my arrival for six weeks, fell ill, returned to his 
capital, and died. Two or three days before his death, 
in the presence of his wife, and in the presence of his 
Minister, he said to his son and successor, 'Whatever 
you think proper to give to Lord Clive on your own 
account, the means are in your power. But, as a 
testimony of my affection for him, I desire you will 
pay to him as a legacy from me five lakhs of rupees.' 
I must observe that the Nawab's death happened 
whilst I was on my voyage, and some months before 
my arrival in Bengal. The principal and interest 
amounted to near ^70,000. A very respectable 
gentleman and great lawyer, who is now the Speaker 
of this honourable House, gave his opinion in favour 
of my right to this legacy in the strongest terms ; 
another great lawyer, a member of this House, has 
often declared to me in private his opinion of my 
right ; and the Court of Directors have themselves 
confirmed that right. Authentic attestations of this 
legacy are upon record in the India House. The 
whole of the money, added to about ^40,000 more, 
which I prevailed on the Nawab to bestow, is estab- 
lished for a military fund in support of officers and 
soldiers who may be invalided in any part of India, 
and also in support of their widows. Nothing was 

1 This seems to have been the name in those clays of the town 
commonly and correctly called ' Murshidabad.' 


wanting but such an establishment as this to make 
the East India Company's military service the best 
service in the world. Before that period, an indigent 
invalid officer and soldier might live in India, but if 
he returned to his native country he returned to 
beggary. By this fund the officers are entitled to 
half pay ; the soldiers are upon the same footing as 
those in Chelsea Hospital ; and the widows of both 
officers and soldiers have pensions. 

Having encroached so long upon the patience of 
the House, I doubt whether I may now expect their 
further indulgence, or whether I must defer what I 
have to say upon this important business till a future 

(House — Go on, go on.) 

But before I proceed, I must beg leave to deviate 
a little into a digression on behalf of the Company's 
servants in general. It is dictated by humanity, by 
justice and by truth. 

Indostan was always an absolute despotic govern- 
ment. The inhabitants, especially of Bengal, in 
inferior stations, are servile, mean, submissive and 
humble. In superior stations they are luxurious, 
effeminate, tyrannical, treacherous, venal, cruel. The 
country of Bengal is called, by way of distinction, 
the paradise of the earth. It not only abounds with 
the necessaries of life to such a degree as to furnish 
a great part of India with its superfluity, but it 
abounds in very curious and valuable manufactures, 


sufficient not only for its own use, but for the use 
of the whole globe. The silver of the west and the 
gold of the east have for many years been pouring 
into that country, and goods only have been sent 
out in return. This has added to the luxury and 
extravagance of Bengal. 

From time immemorial it has been the custom of 
that country for an inferior never to come into the 
presence of a superior without a present. It begins 
at the Nawab, and ends at the lowest man that has an 
inferior. The Nawab has told me that the small 
presents he received amounted to ^300,000 a year ; 
and I can believe him, because I know that I might 
have received as much during my last government. 
The Company's servants have ever been accustomed 
to receive presents. Even before we took part in the 
country troubles, when our possessions were very 
confined and limited, the Governor and others used 
to receive presents ; and I will take upon me to 
assert that there has not been an officer commanding 
His Majesty's fleet, nor an officer commanding 
His Majesty's army, not a Governor, not a member 
of Council, not any other person, civil or military, in 
such a station as to have connection with the country 
government, who has not received presents. With 
regard to Bengal, there they flow in abundance 
indeed. Let the House figure to itself a country 
consisting of fifteen millions of inhabitants, a revenue or 
four millions sterling, and a trade in proportion. By 


progressive steps the Company have become the 
sovereigns of that empire. Can it be supposed that 
their servants will refrain from advantages so ob- 
viously resulting from their situation ? The Com- 
pany's servants, however, have not been the authors 
of those acts of violence and oppression of which it 
is the fashion to accuse them. Such crimes are 
committed by the natives of the country acting as 
their agents, and for the most part without their 
knowledge. Those agents, and the banyans, never 
desist till, according to the ministerial phrase, they 
have dragged their masters into the kennel ; and 
then the acts of violence begin. The passion for 
gain is as strong as the passion of love. I will 
suppose that two intimate friends have lived long 
together ; that one of them has married a beautiful 
woman ; that the friend still continues to live in the 
house, and that this beautiful woman, forgetting her 
duty to her husband, attempts to seduce the friend, 
who, though in the vigour of his youth, may, from 
a high principle of honour, at first resist the tempta- 
tion, and even rebuke the lady. But if he still 
continues to live under the same roof, and she still 
continues to throw out her allurements, he must 
be seduced at last or fly. Now the banyan is the 
fair lady to the Company's servants. He lays his bags 
of silver before him to-day ; gold to-morrow ; jewels 
the next day ; and if these fail, he then tempts him 
in the way of his profession, which is trade. He 


assures him that goods may be had cheap, and sold 
to great advantage up the country. In this manner 
is the attack carried on ; and the Company's servant 
has no resource, for he cannot fly. In short, flesh 
and blood cannot bear it. Let us for a moment 
consider the nature of the education of a young man 
who goes to India. The advantages arising from the 
Company's service are now very generally known ; 
and the great object of every man is to get his son 
appointed a writer to Bengal, which is usually at the 
age of sixteen. His parents and relations represent to 
him how certain he is of making a fortune ; that my 
Lord Such-a-one, and my Lord Such-a-one, acquired 
so much money in such a time ; and Mr Such-a-one, 
and Mr Such-a-one, so much in such a time. Thus 
are their principles corrupted at their very setting out, 
and as they generally go a good many together, they 
inflame one another's expectations to such a degree, in 
the course of the voyage, that they fix upon a period 
for their return before their arrival. 

Let us now take a view of one of these writers 
arrived in Bengal, and not worth a groat. As soon as 
he lands, a banyan, worth perhaps ^100,000, desires 
he may have the honour of serving this young 
gentleman at 4s. 6d. per month. The Company 
has provided chambers for him, but they are not good 
enough ; the banyan finds better. The young man 
takes a walk about the town ; he observes that other 
writers, arrived only a year before him, live in splendid 


apartments or have houses of their own, ride upon 
fine prancing Arabian horses, and in palanqueens and 
chaises ; that they keep seraglios, make entertain- 
ments, and treat with champagne and claret. When 
he returns, he tells the banyan what he has observed. 
The banyan assures him he may soon arrive at the 
same good fortune ; he furnishes him with money ; 
he is then at his mercy. The advantages of the 
banyan advance with the rank of his master, who in 
acquiring one fortune generally spends three. But 
this is not the worst of it ; he is in a state of 
dependence under the banyan, who commits such acts 
of violence and oppression as his interest prompts 
him to, under the pretended sanction and authority 
of the Company's servant. Hence, Sir, arises the 
clamour against the English gentlemen in India. 
But look at them in a retired situation, when returned 
to England, when they are no longer Nawabs and 
sovereigns of the East ; see if there be anything 
tyrannical in their disposition towards their inferiors ; 
see if they are not good and humane masters. Are 
they not charitable ? Are they not benevolent r 
Are they not generous ? Are they not hospitable ? 
If they are, thus far, not contemptible members of 
society, and if in all their dealings between man and 
man their conduct is strictly honourable, if, in short, 
there has not yet been one character found amongst 
them sufficiently flagitious for Mr Foote to exhibit 
on the theatre in the Haymarket, may we not con- 



elude that if they have erred, it has been because 
they were men placed in situations subject to little 
or no control ? 

But if the servants of the Company are to be loaded 
with the demerit of every misfortune in India, let 
them also have the merit they are entitled to. The 
Court of Directors surely will not claim to themselves 
the merit of those advantages which the nation and 
the Company are at present in possession of. The 
officers of the navy and army have had great share 
in the execution ; but the Company's servants were 
the cabinet council, who planned everything ; and to 
them also may be ascribed some part of the merit 
of our great acquisitions. 

I will now pass to other matter — matter as import- 
ant as ever came before the House. India yields at 
present a clear produce to the public and to in- 
dividuals of between two and three millions sterling 
per annum. If this object should be lost, what can 
Administration substitute in the room of it ? I 
tremble when I think of the risk we lately ran from 
the ambitious designs of the French. They may 
have suspended for a time their views upon India, 
but I am sure they have not given them up. It is 
strongly reported they have at this moment 10,000 
men at the islands, 1 and a great number of transports ; 
these men are not to return to France, and yet the 
islands cannot maintain them ; but at Madagascar 

1 The islands referred to are Mauritius and Bourbon. 


they may possess themselves of a country capable of 
supporting any number. This they certainly will do, 
and their forces, instead of decreasing, will increase 
by additional battalions poured out from France, 
until they are ready to carry into execution their 
favourite design. The noble lord at the head of the 
Treasury will do me the justice to say that I laid 
before him a paper, drawn up fifteen months ago, 
in which I stated almost everything that has since 
happened relating to the views of France upon the 
East Indies. It was indeed impossible for me to be 
deceived, knowing the preparations that had been 

If ever France should lay hold of our possessions, 
she will soon add to them all the rest of the East 
Indies. The other European nations there will im- 
mediately fall before her — not even the Dutch can 
stand ; the empire of the sea will follow ; thus will 
her acquisitions in the East, if any can, give her 
universal monarchy. I repeat, and I would have what 
I say remembered, that the French have not given 
up their designs upon India. 

But danger abroad being for the present suspended, 
let us think of the danger at home. 

It is certain that our affairs in Bengal are in a very 
deplorable condition, and that the nation cannot 
receive their ^400,000, and the Proprietors their 
^200,000 'increase of dividend, much longer, if some- 
thing be not done. 


It is necessary, since these affairs are brought before 
Parliament, that we should endeavour to understand 
them. There are a few material points which I 
will state as clearly as I can. The revenues, the 
inland trade, the charges civil and military, and 
the public trade, by which I mean the trade of the 

Upon the receipt of the revenues depend the 
^400,000 a year to Government, and the ^200,000 
a year additional dividend to the Proprietors ; and 
upon the Company's or public trade depends the 
coming home of the revenues. 

There are no mines of gold and silver in Bengal, 
therefore the revenues can be brought hither only 
through the medium of the Company's trade. 

Upon the civil and military expenses depends whether 
we shall have any surplus revenue at all ; for if they are 
swelled up too high, you can receive no revenues. 
Upon the inland trade depends in some degree the 
receipt of the revenues. Upon the inland trade 
depends almost totally the happiness and prosperity 
of the people. Indeed, the true cause of the distress 
in Bengal, as far as it relates to the inland trade, 
is this. The Company's servants and their agents 
have taken into their own hands the whole of that 
trade, which they have carried on in a capacity before 
unknown ; for they have traded not only as merchants, 
but as sovereigns, and by grasping at the whole of 
the inland trade, have taken the bread out of the 


mouths of thousands and thousands of merchants 
who used formerly to carry on that trade, and who 
are now reduced to beggary. 

With regard to the public trade, it is material to 
observe what it has been and what it now is. Here 
is an account of the prime costs of the Company's 
investments from Bengal for seven years preceding 
the acquisition of the Diwani, and for seven years 
subsequent, together with the number of ships 

(// has not been thought necessary to insert here the 
figured statements which are referred to.) 

This account must be exact, because I had the 
whole of it from the India House particulars of the 
last year, which the Court of Directors are not yet 
in possession of. But I cannot doubt their authenti- 
city, as I received them from a gentleman in Council 
at Bengal. 

The House will observe that the gross collections 
have not decreased considerably till the year 1770, 
which was the year of the famine ; but that the civil 
and military expenses have been gradually increasing 
ever since I left Bengal, which was in the beginning 
of the year 1767. And here lies the danger. The 
evil is not so much in the revenues falling short as in 
the expenses increasing. The best means of raising 
the revenues is to reduce the civil and military charges. 
Why should we strive at an actual increase of the 
revenues ? They avail nothing unless we can invest 


them ; and to raise them beyond a certain point is 
to distress the country, and to reduce to indigence 
numbers who from time immemorial have derived 
their subsistence from them. 

With regard to the increase of the expenses, I take 
the case to stand thus. Before the Company became 
possessed of the Diwani, their agents had other ways 
of making fortunes. Presents were open to them. 
They are now at an end. It was expedient for them 
to find some other channel — the channel of the civil 
and military charges. Every man now who is per- 
mitted to make a bill makes a fortune. 

It is not the simple pay of officers and men 
upon the military and civil establishment which 
occasions our enormous expense, but the contingent 
bills of contractors, commissaries, engineers, etc., 
out of which, I am sure, great savings might be 
made. These intolerable expenses have alarmed 
the Directors, and persuaded them to come to 
Parliament for assistance. And, if I mistake not, 
they will soon go to Administration, and tell them 
they cannot pay the ^400,000, and that they must 
lower the dividend to the Proprietors. 

I attribute the present situation of our affairs to 
four causes : a relaxation of government in my suc- 
cessors ; great neglect on the part of Administration ; 
notorious misconduct on the part of the Directors ; 
and the violent and outrageous proceedings of 
General Courts, in which I include contested elections. 


Mr Verelst, who succeeded me in the government, 
I do believe to be a man of as much real worth and 
honour as ever existed ; and so far from being want- 
ing in humanity, as Mr Bolts asserts, I know that 
he had too much humanity. Humanity, if I may be 
allowed the expression, has been his ruin. If he 
had had less, it would have been better for the 
nation, better for the Company, better for the 
natives, and better for himself. No man came to 
the government with a fairer character, and not- 
withstanding what I have said, I am conscious no 
man ever left it with a fairer. He acted upon 
principles of disinterestedness from beginning to 
end : and let the Directors, if they can, tell me 
where I could have laid my finger upon a fitter 
man. But the truth is, he governed with too 
lenient a hand. The too great tenderness of his 
disposition I saw and dreaded. Nothing was want- 
ing on my part to prompt him to pursue vigorous 
measures. Nor did I confine myself to verbal 
advice only. I gave it in writing before I resigned 
the government. The House will permit me to 
read to them my sentiments upon that occasion. 
They are contained in my farewell letter to the 
Select Committee, wherein I forewarned them of 
almost every misfortune that has since happened. 
The whole thing is too long to trouble the House 
with. I shall therefore read only that part of it 
which relates to the present subject. 


c Extract from mv Farewell Letter to the Select 
Committee, dated 1 6th January 1767. 

c The reformation proposed by the Committee of 

Inspection will, I hope, be duly attended to. It has 

been too much the custom in this government to 

make orders and regulations, and thence to suppose 

the business done. To what end and purpose are 

they made, if they be not promulgated and enforced ? 

No regulation can be carried into execution, no 

order obeyed, if you do not make rigorous examples 

of the disobedient. Upon this point I rest the 

welfare of the Company in Bengal. The servants 

are now brought to a proper sense of their duty ; 

if you slacken the reins of government, affairs will 

soon revert to their former channel, and anarchy 

and corruption will again prevail, and, elate with 

a new victory, be too headstrong for any future 

efforts of government. Recall to your memories 

the many attempts that have been made in the 

civil and military departments to overcome our 

authority, and to set up a kind of independency 

against the Court of Directors. Reflect also on 

the resolute measures we have pursued, and their 

wholesome effects. Disobedience to legal power is 

the first step to sedition ; and palliative remedies 

effect no cure. Every tender compliance, every 

condescension on your parts will only encourage 

more flagrant attacks, which will increase in 


strength daily, and be at last in vain resisted. 
Much of our time has been employed in correcting 
abuses. The important work has been prosecuted 
with zeal, diligence and disinterestedness, and we 
have had the happiness to see our labours crowned 
with success. I leave the country in peace ; I leave 
the civil and military departments under discipline 
and subordination ; it is incumbent upon you to 
keep them so. You have power, you have abilities, 
you have integrity ; let it not be said that you are 
deficient in resolution. I repeat that you must 
not fail to exact the most implicit obedience to 
your orders. Dismiss or suspend from the service 
any man who shall dare to dispute your authority. 
If you deviate from the principles upon which we 
have hitherto acted, and upon which you are 
conscious you ought to proceed, or if you do 
not make a proper use of that power with 
which you are invested, I shall hold myself ac- 
quitted, as I do now protest against the conse- 

It is certain that, if my successor had followed 
my example and advice, the evil day would have 
been kept off some time longer. But had he kept 
the tightest rein, he could not have done much 
service to the Company, for neither he nor any 
man could have long guarded against the mischiefs 
occasioned by the Directors themselves, when they 
took away the powers of the Select Committee. 


The Company had acquired an empire more 
extensive than any kingdom in Europe, France 
and Russia excepted. They had acquired a revenue 
of four millions sterling, and a trade in proportion. 
It was natural to suppose that such an object 
would have merited the most serious attention of 
Administration ; that in concert with the Court of 
Directors they would have considered the nature of 
the Company's charter, and have adopted a plan 
adequate to such possessions. Did they take it 
into consideration ? No, they did not. They 
treated it rather as a South Sea bubble than as 
anything solid and substantial ; they thought of 
nothing but the present time, regardless of the 
future. They said, let us get what we can 
to-day, let to-morrow take care for itself; they 
thought of nothing but the immediate division of 
the loaves and fishes ; nay, so anxious were they to 
lay their hands upon some immediate advantage 
that they actually went so far as to influence a 
parcel of temporary Proprietors to bully the Directors 
into their terms. It was their duty, Sir, to have 
called upon the Directors for a plan ; and if a 
plan, in consequence, had not been laid before 
them, it would then have become their duty, with 
the aid and assistance of Parliament, to have formed 
one themselves. If Administration had done their 
duty, we should not now have heard a speech from 
the throne, intimating the necessity of parliamentary 


interposition to save our possessions in India from 
impending ruin. 

The next point is the misconduct on the part of 
the Court of Directors. 

After the Court of Directors had in the highest 
terms approved of the conduct of that Committee 
who restored tranquillity to Bengal ; who had restored 
a government of anarchy and confusion to good 
order ; who had made a peace with Sujah Daulah, 
by which they obtained upwards of ^600,000 for 
the Company ; who had quelled both a civil and a 
military mutiny ; who had re-established discipline 
and subordination in the army ; who had obtained 
the Diwani of Bengal, Behar and Orissa, which 
produced to the Company a net income of 
^1,300,000; who had paid off the greatest part 
of a bond debt in Bengal, amounting to near 
^900,000 ; who had left the treasury in such a 
flowing state that they drew few or no bills upon 
the Company at home ; who laid the foundation 
of investments so large as were never before known 
or heard of; and who had by these means enabled 
the Company to assist Government with ^400,000 
a year, and to make an increase of dividend to the 
stockholders of ^200,000, one would imagine that 
the Court of Directors would have supported a 
system of government which had been so very 
successful. But they acted upon very different 
principles ; they dropped the prosecutions against 


those gentlemen in Bengal whose conduct the 
Committee had censured and fully represented. 
Thus they gave a stab to their own vitals. From 
that instant they destroyed their own power abroad, 
and erased from the minds of their servants in India 
every wholesome regulation which the Committee had 
established. The servants abroad were in anxious 
suspense to learn whether they were punishable or 
not for misconduct. The lenity or weakness of the 
Court of Directors removed their doubts. From 
that instant all covenants were forgotten, or only 
looked upon as so many sheets of blank paper ; 
and from that instant began that relaxation of 
government so much now complained of, and so 
much still to be dreaded. 

Their next step was to destroy the powers of that 
Committee whose conduct they had with reason so 
highly approved of. They divided the powers ; they 
gave half to the Council, and left the other half with 
the Committee. The consequence was, the Council 
and Committee became distracted by altercations and 
disputes for power, and have ever since been at 
variance, to the great detriment of the service. 
The Court of Directors, as if this was not enough, 
restored to the service almost every civil and military 
transgressor who had been dismissed ; nay, they re- 
warded some of them by allowing them a continuation 
of their rank all the time they were in England. And 
now, as a condemnation of their own conduct and a 


tacit confession of their own weakness, they come to 
Parliament with a Bill of Regulations, in which is 
inserted a clause to put such practices as much as 
possible out of their power for the future. 

With regard to General Courts, I believe I need 
not dwell long on the consequences of them. Their 
violent proceedings have been subversive of the 
authority of the Court of Directors. The agents 
abroad have known this ; they have therefore never 
scrupled to set the orders of the Court of Directors 
at defiance when it was their interest to disobey 
them, and they have escaped punishment by means 
of the over-awing interests of individuals at General 
Courts. Thus have General Courts co-operated with 
the Court of Directors in the mischiefs that have 
arisen in Bengal ; whilst annual contested elections 
have, in a manner, deprived the Directors of the power 
of establishing any authority over their servants. 
The first half of the year is employed in freeing 
themselves from the obligations contracted by their 
last elections ; and the second half is wasted in in- 
curring new obligations, and securing their election 
for the next year, by daily sacrifices of some interest 
of the Company. The Direction, notwithstanding all 
these manoeuvres, has been so fluctuating and unsettled 
that new and contradictory orders have been frequently 
sent out ; and the servants (who, to say the truth, 
have generally understood the interest of the Com- 
pany much better than the Directors) have in many 


instances followed their own opinion, in opposition 
to theirs. 

It is not my intention at present to trouble the 
House with the remedies for these evils. I rather 
choose to defer them till the Bill come into the 
House. I have now opened my budget ; it is not 
a ministerial budget : it is an East India budget, 
which contains many precious stones, diamonds, 
rubies, etc., of the first water and magnitude ; and 
there wants only a skilful jeweller and able artist 
to polish them and ascertain their real value. 


Lord Clive's speech in the House of Commons on 
the 19th May 1773, on the order of the day, to take 
into further consideration the reports of the Select 
and Secret Committees appointed to inquire into the 
affairs of the East India Company : — 

Sir, after rendering my country the services which 
I think I may, without any degree of vanity, claim the 
merit of, and after having nearly exhausted a life full 
of employment for the public welfare, and for the 
particular and advantageous emolument of the East 
India Company, I little thought transactions of this 
kind would have agitated the minds of my country- 
men in such proceedings as these, tending to deprive 
me not only of my property and the fortune which I 
have fairly acquired, but of that which I hold more 
dear to me — my honour and my reputation. The 
House will not think me, I hope, fraught with any 
degree of vanity when I repeat again that I have done 
services to my country. 

I must now beg leave to say a few words relative to 
the presents which I am charged with receiving un- 
warrantably. I must beg leave to observe to the 



House that presents were allowed and received from 
the earliest time of the Direction. They have con- 
tinued to be received uninterruptedly for the space of 
150 years ; and men, Sir, who have sat in the Direction 
themselves have at several times received presents. 
This the Direction must know ; but I am firmly of 
opinion that in honourable cases presents are not 
improper to be received ; but when for dishonourable 
purposes, then, Sir, I hold them to be highly improper. 
In the early part of my life, my labours were without 
emolument or laurels, and I hope the House cannot 
think but that I ought to be rewarded for my services 
to my country in the latter part of it. When I was 
employed by the Company, their affairs abroad were 
in a condition much to be lamented. Misfortunes 
attended them in every part of their settlements, and 
the Nawabs looked with a jealous eye upon the small 
privileges and possessions they then enjoyed, and 
though small, in danger every day of being wrested 
from them. Fear and weakness of power sought for 
protection from the dangers that surrounded them. 
In this critical situation I was called forth, and it 
pleased God to make me the instrument of their 
delivery. In the various battles and attacks in 
which I was employed, I had the good fortune to 
succeed ; nor were such schemes or undertakings 
entered upon without the previous provocation of 
the country powers. The treachery of Suraj ud 
Daulah was for ever in our eye, and his perfidy 


was never at rest j nor did we attack Chandernagore 
till the treaty on his behalf was first violated. 

After these conquests, Sir, and acquisitions gained 
for the Company, I returned home. They approved 
in the highest degree of what I have done ; and 
as a token of their approbation, they presented me 
with a rich sword set with diamonds. This, certainly, 
Sir, was no mark of their opinion that I had either 
violated treaties or disobeyed their orders. Nor did 
their commendation and good opinion of my services 
terminate here. As soon as troubles broke out in 
that country, and when the news of the terrible 
disaster of the taking of Calcutta from us arrived 
to the ear of the Company, they immediately sent 
to me and requested that I would go once more to 
India, to protect and secure their possessions ; that 
my presence alone would effect it ; and they should 
rest secured, through the good opinion they had of 
me, that success would accompany me, and that 
I should be the means of putting their affairs again 
in a prosperous situation. I did not hesitate a moment 
to accept the offer. I went abroad, resolving not 
to benefit myself one single shilling on my return, 
and I strictly and religiously adhered to it. When 
I arrived there, I subdued Angria, a very powerful 
prince. I re-took Calcutta with an inconsiderable 
army. Surdj ud Daulah had at all times betrayed a 
disposition to break the treaty ; and when an army 
was sent under the command of M. Dupree, which 



might have proved fatal to us, I do not hesitate to 
say that we bribed the general of that army, who 
immediately wrote to the Nawab to let him know 
the English were invincible ; and, upon a second 
request from the Nawab to M. Dupree, that he would 
march with his army and destroy the English, his 
answer was couched in the same terms. He said 
that he always found the English invincible, and 
that it would have been the height of imprudence to 
hazard an attack. By such means, and by this 
stratagem, we succeeded. We soon discovered that 
the Nawab, Suraj ud Daulah, was so turbulent and 
restless that he only waited for the departure of the 
fleet to exterminate the English. But, as treacherous 
men are too apt to have men of the same cast 
and disposition about them, the Nawab was not 
wanting of such companions. Omichand, his con- 
fidential servant, as he thought, told his master of 
an agreement made between the English and M. 
Dupr£e to attack him, and received for that advice 
a sum of not less than four lakhs of rupees. Finding 
this to be the man in whom the Nawab entirely 
trusted, it soon became our object to consider him 
as a most material engine in the intended revolution. 
We therefore make such an agreement as was 
necessary for the purpose, and entered into a treaty 
with him to satisfy his demands. When all things 
were prepared, and the evening of the event was 
appointed, Omichand informed Mr Watts, who was 


at the court of the Nawab, that he insisted upon 
thirty lakhs of rupees, and five per cent, upon all the 
treasure that should be found ; that, unless that was 
immediately complied with, he would disclose the 
whole to the Nawab ; and that Mr Watts, and the 
two other English gentleman then at the court, 
should be cut off before the morning. Mr Watts, 
immediately on this information, despatched an 
express to me at the Council. I did not hesitate 
to find out a stratagem to save the lives of these 
people, and secure success to the intended event. 
For this purpose we signed another treaty. The one 
was called the red, the other the white treaty. This 
treaty was signed by everyone except Admiral 
Watson ; and I should have considered myself 
sufficiently authorised to put his name to it by the 
conversation I had with him. As to the person who 
signed Admiral Watson's name to the treaty, whether 
he did it in his presence or not I cannot say, but 
this I know, that he thought he had sufficient 
authority for so doing. This treaty was immediately 
sent to Omichand, who did not suspect the stratagem. 
The event took place, and success attended it ; and 
the House, I am fully persuaded, will agree with me 
that, when the very existence of the Company was 
at stake, and the lives of these people so precariously 
situated, and so certain of being destroyed, it was a 
matter of a true policy and of justice to deceive so 
great a villain. I have in my hand, Sir, a letter signed 


by Admiral Watson, Messrs Manningham, Watts, 
etc., which, I apprehend will carry Admiral Watson's 
thorough approbation of the proceedings of the 
revolution, and the means by which it was obtained. 
(His lordship then read the letter, which conveyed 
Admiral Watson's full approbation.) 

Nor, Sir, great as my fortune is (and which bears 
no proportion to what I might have made), yet, to 
show that I did not harass or lay under contribution 
those whom I have conquered for my own emolu- 
ment, I can tell this House that neither I nor any- 
one in my army received a sixpence from the 
inhabitants of Muxadabad. My Jagfr was not 
received till 1759, though it has been reported I 
received it at the revolution in 1757. 

I must beg leave to mention another circumstance 
to this House ; that, upon these troubles, the Dutch 
were encouraged by the Nawab to enter the country 
with seven ships and a vast army. I did not hesitate 
a moment to give them battle ; and in twenty-four 
hours I destroyed every ship they had, and their whole 
army was either killed, wounded or taken prisoners. 
At this time the Dutch had most of my money ; and 
in this instance, I think, I showed a zeal for the 
honour and interest of the Company superior to every 
other object even of my own concerns. I must 
now beg leave to read in the House two letters from 
the Court of Directors to myself, containing their 
approbation of the revolution in Bengal. These 


letters, Sir, came not through the common channel 
of address to the Governor and Council, but were 
directed to myself. (His lordship then read the 
letters, which contained the most full and satisfactory 
approbation of what is termed in one of the letters 
the late glorious and profitable revolution.) These, 
Sir, are surely sufficient certificates of my behaviour 
and the proceedings of that revolution ; and, what- 
ever the House may think of them, will remain an 
everlasting approbation of my conduct from those 
persons who alone employed me, and whose servant I 
was. A late Minister (Lord Chatham), whose abilities 
have been an honour to his country, and whom this 
House will ever revere, will, I am sure, come to your 
bar, and not only tell you how highly he thought of my 
services at the time, but also what his opinion is now. 

I am, however, sure that I shall have justice done 
me by the inquiry of those men who are likely to be 
appointed to go to India to regulate the affairs of that 
country. Then, Sir, may come from that part of the 
world a full justification of my conduct. Here I 
must beg leave to read a part of my late speech. 
(Here his lordship read a part of the letter and of his 
speech, made on the 30th of March 1772, stating the 
acquisitions he had obtained for the Company and the 
public.) After these services, I thought at least I 
might have enjoyed my fortune uninterrupted, and 
unenvied by those not so rich as myself. (Here his 
lordship then read another letter from the Company, 


which contained in a stronger manner than any of the 
preceding ones a full and ample commendation and 
approbation of all his proceedings ; this etter was 
directed to his lordship, and dated the 4th of March 


Upon my arrival, Sir, in England a second time, 
a committee of the Directors waited upon me to 
desire to know when I would receive the congratu- 
lations of the Direction. I accordingly waited upon 
them at their court in Leadenhall Street, and the 
chairman, at a very full court, addressed me in the 
words contained in this letter (which his lordship 
read). These, Sir, were circumstances, certainly, that 
gave me a full satisfaction, and a ground to think 
that my conduct, in every instance, was approved of. 
After such certificates as these, Sir, am I to be brought 
here like a criminal, and the very best parts of my 
conduct construed into crimes against the State ? Is 
this the reward that is now held out to persons who 
have performed such important services to their 
country ? If it is, Sir, the future consequences that 
will attend the execution of any important trust 
committed to the persons who have the care of it 
will be fatal indeed ; and I am sure the noble lord 
upon the Treasury bench, whose great humanity and 
abilities I revere, would never have consented to the 
resolutions that passed the other night if he had 
thought on the dreadful consequences that would 
attend them. 


Sir, I cannot say that I either sit or rest easy when 
I find by the extensive resolution proposed that all 
I have in the world is to be confiscated, and that 
no one will henceforward take my security for a 
shilling. These, Sir, are dreadful apprehensions to 
remain under, and I cannot look upon myself but 
as a bankrupt ; nothing my own, and totally unable 
to give any security while these resolutions are pend- 
ing. Such, Sir, is the situation I am in. I have 
not anything left which I can call my own except 
my paternal fortune of ^500 per annum, and which 
has been in the family for ages past. But upon this 
I am content to live, and perhaps I shall find more 
real content of mind and happiness therein than in 
the trembling aiHuence of an unsettled fortune. 

But, Sir, I must make one more observation, that 
if the definition of the hon. gentleman (General Bur- 
goyne) and of this House is that the State, as expressed 
in these resolutions, is quoad hoc the Company, 
then, Sir, every farthing that I enjoy is granted to 
me. But to be called, after sixteen years have elapsed, 
to account for my conduct in this manner, and after 
an uninterrupted enjoyment of my property, to have 
been questioned and considered as obtaining it un- 
warrantably, is hard indeed, and a treatment I should 
not think the British Senate capable of. But if it 
should be the case, I have a conscious innocence 
within me that tells me my conduct is irreproach- 
able. < Frangas non fleetest They may take from 


me what I have. They may, as they think, make me 
poor, but I will be happy. I mean not this as my 
defence, though I have done for the present. My 
defence will be made at that bar, and before I sit 
down I have one request to make to the House, 
that when they come to decide upon my honour, 
they will not forget their own. 


(Given in the Preface to his c Rise and Progress of 
the British Power in the East J p. 7.) 

* The only chance of success in this part of the 
history lies in stern impartiality, mixed with candour 
and indulgence, towards all the parties concerned. 
Measures must be discussed, serving no doubt to 
illustrate the characters of the leading men of the 
day, but more with a view to utility, and to pointing 
out what objects are to be attained and what are 
the sure means of ascertaining and promoting them. 

i This is the key to the treatment of Clive's char- 
acter, commanding respect and admiration from its 
great qualities, which feelings are painfully checked 
by instances of duplicity and meanness. 

'The impression he leaves is that of force and 
grandeur ; a masculine understanding ; a fine judg- 
ment ; an inflexible will ; little moved by real dangers, 
and by arguments and menaces not at all. He exer- 
cised a supreme control over those who shared his 
counsels or executed his resolves. Men yielded to 

a pressure which they knew could not be turned 



aside, and either partook of its impulse or were crushed 
by its progress. 

4 Where overmatched by his enemies, he appears 
in even greater grandeur. He meets the most for- 
midable accusations with bold avowal and a confident 
justification. He makes no attempt to soften his 
enemies or conciliate the public, but stands on his 
merits and services with a pride which in other cir- 
cumstances would have been arrogance. 

After acknowledging his errors, history presents 
few great characters more blameless (?) * than that 
of Clive. Though stern and imperious by nature, 
his temper was proof against a thousand trials, and 
in a life spent amidst scenes of blood and suffering 
he has never been accused of a single act of cruelty. 
He coveted money as an instrument of ambition, but 
never acquired it in any manner that he did not openly 
avow, and he scorned to preserve it by swerving a 
hair's-breadth from his duty. His few political offences 
he was led into by zeal for the public, and for the 
same object he sacrificed the peace of his last years 
and risked his accumulations of wealth and glory. 
He possessed undaunted courage, a strong understand- 
ing, sagacity and soundness of judgment, and un- 
rivalled vigour in action. A mind so endowed rises 
high above ordinary imperfections. At worst it is a 
rough-hewn Colossus, where the irregularities of the 
surface are lost in the grandeur of the whole. 

1 The mark of interrogation is by the author, Mr Elphinstone. 


4 Though naturally bold, open and direct, Clive 
did not despise the use of artifice when his purposes 
required it, and it is this propensity that casts a 
shade of meanness over his great qualities that pre- 
vents that unmixed respect which so powerful a 
character must otherwise have commanded. 

* Though Clive had a natural sense of honour, his 
independent and even reckless character made him 
indifferent to the opinion of others and regardless of 
form and propriety. The society in which he lived 
in India was not likely to promote refinement ; the 
agitated scene in which he was soon engaged, the 
eagerness for success, the calamities and disgrace 
attendant on failure, left little time for reflection or 
hesitation. The practice of the natives, the example 
of the French, and the maxims current among his 
brother officers, led him to rate boldness and vigour 
far above scrupulous correctness, and the result was 
a high sense of honour, with but little delicacy of 
sentiment. He could sacrifice his life to his duty, 
but not his interest to his moderation 5 he was 
generous to his friends, but barely just to his enemies. 
He would have rejected praise he had not earned, 
but neither forgot, nor allowed others to forget, the 
extent of his real deserts. 

' Clive's estimate of his own services, great as they 
were, by no means fell short of their actual value. 
This does not arise from any indulgence of vanity 
on his part, but there is no occasion on which they 


can promote his views or interest where they are 
not brought forward in an exaggerated form, with 
a boldness and consciousness of worth that command 
our respect, and overcome our dislike to self praise. 
Hence arose a marked peculiarity of Clive's character. 
After the enormous extent to which he had profited 
by his situation, he delights to dwell on his integrity 
and moderation, and speaks of greed and rapacity 
in others with scorn and indignation. Convinced 
that the bounty of Mir Jafar fell short of his claims 
on the Company, he inveighs against his successors 
who received presents which they had not earned, 
and speaks of them with disgust as the most criminal, 
as well as the meanest of mankind. Nor are these 
sentiments assumed to impose upon the public ; they 
are most strongly expressed in his most confidential 
letters, and appear to be drawn forth by the strength 
of his feelings. In no stage of his life did Clive 
appear with more dignity than during his persecution. 
His boasts of merit and service now appear as a proud 
resistance to calumny and oppression ; the spirit with 
which he avowed and gloried in the acts which excited 
the most clamour and odium, his independence 
towards his judges, his defiance of his powerful 
enemies, excite our interest, while they command 
our respect and admiration. 

c Clive's views were clear within the circle of his 
vision, but they were not extensive. His political 
plans were founded on the existing relations without 


much attention to prospective changes. His reforms 
were temporary expedients, and even his knowledge 
of the state of India in his time was only accurate 
within the scene where he had himself been an 

Clive's Return Home. 

c He now paid for his disinterestedness. All who 
had been brought to punishment by his severity ; all 
who had suffered indirectly by his reforms ; all who 
were disappointed in their hopes of wealth and 
favour, with their numerous connections among the 
Proprietors, and with the old band of enemies at the 
Indian Office House, combined to raise a clamour 
against him ; and in this were speedily joined those 
who envied his wealth and reputation, and a numerous 
class whose indignation against Indians had been 
roused by the very abuses which Clive had put down, 
and which in their ignorance they imputed to him, 
in common with all the Company's servants. Against 
these attacks the Government gave him no protection. 

'All his former proceedings, over which many 
years had passed, and which, when not applauded at 
the time, had received a general sanction from his 
appointment to the government of India at a time 
when honesty and public spirit were regarded as much 
as talent, all were scrutinised as if they were now 
mentioned for the first time. 


'But all these investigations brought forth no 
fresh charge against the accused. Whatever faults 
Clive might have committed, the facts had never 
been denied, and his acquisitions, if immoderate, were 
on too great a scale to be concealed. There were 
no petty peculations, no lurking corruption to be 
detected. A Committee with a hostile president, 
with Mr Johnston himself for a member, produced 
a report, the effect of which may be judged by the 
result. A motion strongly inculpatory was made by 
the chairman, Clive replying by avowing everything 
of which he was accused, and declaring that in similar 
circumstances he would do the same again. 

'The division of the House was worthy the best 
days of the Roman Senate. Without approving of 
actions of mixed merit or demerit, or sanctioning 
questionable principles, they voted that Robert Lord 
Clive had rendered great and meritorious services to 
his country. 

* But this honourable testimony could not remove 
the effect of two years of persecution ; and it is 
doubtful whether the sense of injury and ingratitude 
did not concur with sufferings from disease to cut 
off the career of this proud and aspiring genius.' 



Richard Clive of Huxley,co.Chester. = Jane, d. of William Brereton of Brere- 
and Styche, in Moreton Say, co. I ton, co. Chester, by Ann, d. of Sir 
Salop ; d. 27 Ap. 1572 ; brass in H. William Booth of Dunham Massey, 
Trinity Ch., Chester. co. Chester. 

George Clive = Catherine Raftor, 
b. I7ti, ;«. 1732, 
d. 7 Dec. 1785. 
" Kitty Clive." 

Sir Georg= Clive of the same, Knt , = Susanna, d. of Henry Copinge 
Chancr. of the Exchequer in Ireland, I Davington, co. Kent, esq. 

&c. ; kntd. 4 Aug. 1588, d. 1 Sept. 

Joshua Clive of Huxley and Styche. = Mary, d. of Andrew Charlton 
Apley, co. Salop. 

Rachel Clive, heiress of Cli 
Middlewich and of Huxley ; 
March 1619-20, d. 5 Ap. 1657. 

>mas Wilbraham 
Chester ; b. 25 Jul 
1, &c, d. 1643. 

>f Nantwich, 
: 1589, of Line. 

Robert Cli' 
esq.; admd. to Line. Inn 7 June 1632, I 
as ' s. and h. appt. of Ambrose C. of 
Styche, co. Salop, arm.' 

, d. of Thomas Townshend 
Braconash, co. Norf., esq. 

Ufield Priory, co. Essex, 

George Clive of Wormbridge, CO 
Heref. , jure uxoris ; d. vita patris. 

= Mary, d. and heir of Martin Husbands 
of Wormbridge, co. Heref. 

3. Edward Clive of 

1. Robert Clive of Styche, = Elizabeth, d. of Richard Amphlett of Hadsor, co. Wore, 
CO. Salop, esq. I esq., by Anne, d. of Edw. Cookes of Bentley Pauncefoot, co. 

Wore, ' founder's kin ' at Worcester College. 

2. George Clive, Cursitcr Baron of the 
Exchequer ; buried in Lincoln's Inn 
Chapel 5 Jan. 1739-40- 

1. Sir Edward Clive, 
Knt.; b. 1704, admd. 
to Line. Inn as s. 
and heir of Edwd. of 
Wormbridge, gent., 
27 March 1719, J. 
Common Pleas, 1753- 

2. George. 
of Drayton, 
co. Salop. 

3. Richard Clive of = Rebecca, d. of Na- 
Styche, co. Salop, | thaniel Gaskell of 
Manchester, gent. 
(d. 20 Nov. 1716, 
aged 63), by Sarah 
Wilson (>ii, 27 June 
1693, d. 1, burd. 4 
May 1707). 

S arah Gaskell, ;«., 13 
May r7i8, Hugh, 
nth Lord Sempill 
(d. 25 Nov. 1746), 
and d. 17 April 1749. 

Elizabeth Gaskell,;;/., 
1717, Daniel Bayley 
of Manchester, and 
d. 26 Feb. 1734, 
aged 34. 

Margaret, d. of Edmi 
Maskelyne of Westn 

i. Robert Clive 
bapt. 2 Oct 
Lord Clive of Plassey, &c 

Styche, 29 Sept., 
[725, at Moreton Say ; 

= George Sempill, Col. 
E. I. C. Service ; d. 
18 Oct. 1779. 

John, Lord 


n 2 2,2. 
°l '^ c* S" ' 


if mimmts- 

- &£ 



P r/'S 

w _ 
o3 - 5 ? 

s 1*1 is 

R £^ = 

>Z3 3 2 SI 

3 gVS P*P"" 5_ 


2>s S$i-s>- ; -2^ 
3sfln.w§-""02. , 2- 



= John 

Wynne, o 

St Benet 




3 S £.£;=•? S. <. 

¥ I"* o" B'S? 

■ ' <» c-, r" - • 

n ^ o n ? = S 


S-8.S tfP- l 

^i^f ?ob?s-? 

SiR-3 • " 3 S> 

:F8 - 


1 » • sOs 

2 2j ?gO S 
? = 2i; £93 3 5 '- 

! ii 

H_ OS," 


gs go r>5 j 

? * = r =- 5 '1 

r. r c - — 7T 

: Pa." s?s 

Do v, 
HI 1 g_o 

a. - s 2 "5* = 


^Q fa 

§-.< -3 -2. 

*? S.P- - 

2"3 si 3 n 

■ • - -- 

SsrS 1 


Adams, Thomas, Major, who com- 
manded in the battles of 
Katwa, Gheriah and Andhwa 
Nala, 135-6. 

Aix-la-Chapelle, Peace of, II. 

Aldercron, Colonel, jealous of 
Clive and obstructive, 49. 

Aliverdi Khan, Nawab of Bengal 
and grandfather of Suraj ud 
Daulah, 47. 

Allahabad, restored to the Emperor 
by the Nawab Vazir, 153. 

Almon, Parliamentary History by, 

Ambur, Battle of, 19. 

Amyatt, Mr, a Bengal Civil 
Servant, murdered when 
escaping from Patna, 134. 

Andhwa Nala, Battle of, 136. 

Anwarud din Khan, Nawab of the 
Carnatic, 19 ; killed at the 
battle of Ambur, 20. 

Arcot, capital of the Carnatic, 17 ; 
Clive suggests its capture, 17 5 
Clive marches thither on 26th 
August 1 75 1, 22 ; arrives 
there on 31st August, 23 ; 
and finds the fort evacuated, 



uently invested 

by Raja Sahib, 25 ; defence 
of, 25-27 ; defence of, the 
turning point in Clive's career, 
and also in the Eastern career 
of the English, 27. 
Army, remonstrance of the 
officers of the, on the subject 

of prize money after Plassey, 
90 et seq. ,• mutinous discon- 
tent among the officers in 
1766, 167 et seq. 
Ami, captured by Clive a few days 
after the siege of Arcot was 
raised, 27. 


Barker, Sir Robert, one of the 
brigadiers who supported 
Clive in suppressing the 
mutiny of the officers, 169 
et seq. 

Bayley, Daniel, of Hope Hall, 
Manchester, where much of 
Robert Clive's childhood was 
spent, 2 ; his description of 
Clive as * out of measure 
addicted to fighting,' 2. 

Beecher, appointed a member of 
the Bengal Council, 177. 

Benares, Raja of, allowed after the 
war between the Company 
and the Nawab Vazir to 
retain his districts, but in 
subordination to Oudh, 153. 

Bengal, Behar and Orissa, Clive 
obtains the Diwani of, 151 
et seq. 

Biderra, the Dutch beaten by 
Forde at, 109. 

Boscawen, Admiral, supports with 
his squadron the siege of 
Pondicherry, 8. 




Brazil, Clive spent nine months 
in, on his first voyage to 
India, 4. 

Burdwan, a district ceded by 
Kasim Ali Khan to the 
Company, 132 ; abuses con- 
nected with its management, 

Burgoyne, General, moves resolu- 
tions against Clive in Select 
Committee of House of 
Commons, 208. 

Budge Budge, Clive's fight at, 51. 

Buxar, Battle of, its importance, 

Calcutta, acquired by the East 
India Company in 1686 
through agency of Job Char- 
nock, 46-7 ; attack on, by 
Suraj ud Daulah, 48 5 affair 
of the Black Hole, 48. 

Calliaud, Colonel, repels an inva- 
sion of Behar by the Shahzada, 

Carnac, General, commanding 
the Bengal army during 
Clive's last government of 
Bengal, 177 ; offered by 
Clive an annuity of £500 
if he retired from the service, 

Cartier, it was thought, had proved 
his capacity, 173 ; on suc- 
ceeding Verelst as Governor 
proved to be a weak man, 

Chandernagore, Clive instructed 
to capture, in the event of 
war with France, 61 ; assault 
and capture of, 64 et seq. ; 
Clive's evidence regarding 
the conduct of Admiral 
Watson's fleet at the assault, 

Chan da Sahib, competitor for the 
Nawabship of the Carnatic, 
19 5 murdered by the Tanjore 
chief, 34. 

Chatham, Earl of. See William 
Pitt the elder. 

Chingleput, captured by Clive, 37. 

Chinsurah, the Dutch beaten by 
Forde at, 109. 

Chittagong, a district ceded at the 
same time as Burdwan, 132. 

Civil Servants, the duties of in 
Clive's earlier service very 
different from those now de- 
volving on them, 5 5 Clive's 
description of the insubordina- 
tion of, 165-6. 

Clarcmont, purchased by Clive 
from the Duchess of New- 
castle, 229. 

Clive's Fund, established by Clive 
in 1766, 1645 reclaimed by 
Clive's heirs-at-law in 1858, 
and then continued by the 
Secretary of State in Council, 

Clive, Lady, marries Robert Clive 
at Madras in 1753, 37 5 tra ~ 
dition connected with the 
marriage, 37-38 ; a beautiful 
and accomplished woman, 
much beloved both by her 
own and Clive's family, 38, 
217 ; her picture at Basset 
Down, 38. 

Clive, Richard, father of Robert, 
Lord Clive, owner of Styche, 
compelled by poverty to 
practise as a solicitor, 1 ; 
extricated from his pecuniary 
difficulties by his son, 41. 

Clive, Robert, birth and parentage, 
1 ; childhood at Hope Hall, 
Manchester, 2 ; energy of 
disposition, 2 j begins school 
life at Lostock in Cheshire, 
3 5 thence transferred to 
Market Drayton, to Merchant 
Taylors' School, and to Hemel 



Hempstead in succession, 3 5 
appointed in 1743 to an 
Indian writership at Madras, 
3 ; arrival at Madras Late in 
I -44, 4 5 after long detention 
at Rio de Janeiro, 4; duties 
uncongenial to him, 5 ; his 
escape from Madras after its 
capture by the French, 7 ; 
his duels, 7-9 ; attracts notice 
of Stringer Lawrence during 
siege of Pondicherry, 10 ; 
employed on expeditions to 
Devikota, 1 3 5 Lawrence's 
opinion of Clive at Devikota, 
16 ; deputation with Pigot 
to Verdachalam, 16 5 perma- 
nent transfer to military 
service, 17 ; visits to Trichi- 
nopoly, 16, 17 ; suggests 
seizure of Arcot, 17 ; marches 
upon Arcot on 26th August 
175 1 5 arrives there on 31st 
August, and occupies the 
fort, 23 ; encounters with the 
enemy, 23, 24 5 his narrow 
escape and repulse of the final 
assault, 25 ; meets Raja 
Sahib's bribes and threats by 
defiance, joined by Morari 
Rao, 27 ; marches upon 
Ami and disperses Raja 
Sahib's force, 28 ; attacked 
by Raja Sahib at Kaveripak, 
and wins decisive victory, 29 ; 
recalled to command expedi- 
tion to Trichinopoly, 30 ; 
superseded by Lawrence, 32 ; 
detached to Samiavaram, 32 ; 
renders important service to 
Lawrence, 33 5 narrow es- 
capes, 34, 35 ; employed at 
Chingleput and Covelong, 36, 
37 ; his marriage, 37-39 5 
return to England, 40 5 his 
reception there, helps his 
family, 41 ; elected member 
for St Michael's, but un- 
seated on petition, 41 ; ap- 

pointed Governor of Fort St 
David, 42 ; gazetted Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel in the Royal 
Army, 43 ; goes to Bombay, 
43 ; takes Gheriah in con- 
junction with Admiral Wat- 
son, 44, 45 ; dispute as to 
his share of prize money, 45 ; 
assumes government of Fort 
St David, 46 ; sent to Bengal 
as Commander-in-Chief of 
force despatched to avenge 
outrage of Black Hole, 49 ; 
lands at Mayapur, and is 
surprised near Budge Budge, 
51,52; difficulties with Wat- 
son, 53 ; and with Council at 
Calcutta, 55, 56 5 captures 
Hughli, 56 ; battle near 
Calcutta, 57 ; letter to Duke 
of Newcastle, 57-60 5 makes 
treaty with Nawab, 61 j in con- 
junction with Watson attacks 
and captures Chandernagore, 
63,645 determines to remain 
in Bengal, 66 ; his distrust of 
the Nawab, 67, 68 ; engages 
in a plot to dethrone the 
Nawab, 68 ; his distrust of 
Mir Jafar, 69, 70 5 discovers 
the treachery of Omichand, 
70 ; adopts the expedient of 
framing two treaties, one real 
and the other sham, 71 5 ad- 
vances towards Plassey on the 
1 2th June, 74 ; calls a Council 
of War, 76, 77 5 votes with 
the majority for delay, but 
does not adhere to this de- 
cision, jy • reaches Plassey, 
78 ; his report of the battle, 
79-83 ; his reception of Mir 
Jafar the day after the battle, 
85 ; has to be content with 
receiving half the price of 
his victory, and the rest later 
on, 87 ; and subsequently 
receives from Mir Jafar a 
personal present of ,£160,000, 


3 o8 


88 5 causes Omichand to be 
undeceived, 88 ; correspond- 
ence with malcontent military 
officers regarding claims of 
the navy to prize money, 
92, 93 ; correspondence with 
Select Committee at Calcutta, 

93> 94? ur gf (1 a g ain b y 
Madras authorities to return 
to Madras, 95 ; honours con- 
ferred upon him by the 
Emperor of Delhi, 90 ; his 
name omitted from the first 
Council appointed after the 
recapture of Calcutta, 97 ; 
aids Mir Jafar against the 
Shahzada, 98, 99 ; his re- 
sponse to Shahzada's appeal 
for protection, 100 ; grant of 
Jagir, 100, 10 1 ; despatches a 
force to the Northern Sirkars, 
102-106 ; repels invasion of 
the Dutch, 107-110; his 
indignation at the surrender 
of Fort St David to Lally, 
113 ; embarks for England 
for the second time on 14th 
January 1760, 114; letter to 
the elder Pitt, 114-120 ; rates 
the Court of Directors for the 
asperity of a despatch, 121- 
123 ; his cordial reception in 
England, 124 5 created an 
Irish Peer, 126 ; incurs the 
hostility of Lawrence Sullivan, 
127 ; results of his letter to 
the elder Pitt, 128 ; his 
opinions much in advance of 
his time, 128 ; elected Mem- 
ber for Shrewsbury, and 
attaches himself to George 
Grenville, 129 ; expends 
£100,000 in acquiring votes 
at the East India House, 
129 5 threatened with loss of 
his Jagir, 130 ; is urged, and 
consents, to return to Bengal, 
where affairs are in great 
disorder, 138-144; his views 

on the relations of the Eng- 
lish and native princes, 145 ; 
favours the appointment of 
a Governor-General of India 
located in Bengal, 146 ; noti- 
fies to the Council the powers 
assigned to Select Committee, 
147 ; enforces the execution 
of the covenants, 148 ; sus- 
pends from the service Messrs 
Spencer, Johnston and Ley- 
cestcr, 149 ; holds that the 
Company's territories should 
be transferred to the Crown, 
150 ; arranges for transfer of 
the Diwani to the Company, 
152 ; advocates increase of 
salaries in civil service, 162 ; 
establishes Clive's Fund, 164 ; 
deals with discontent in civil 
service and in the army, 165- 
170 ; his minutes on retiring 
from the Government, 173- 
175 ; finally leaves India, 
29th January 1767, 177; 
lands at Portsmouth, 14th 
July, 178 ; condemns the 
annual subsidy of £400,000 
made by the Court to the 
Government, 179 ; the tenure 
of his Jagir extended, 180 ; 
his bad opinion of the Court 
of Directors, 181, 182 ; visits 
the continent in 1768, 184 ; 
his opinion of Verelst, 184, 
185 ; attaches great import- 
ance to subordination of 
military to civil power, 185 ; 
denounces the pride and 
ambition of Colonel Richard 
Smith, 186; loses by death 
his friend Grenville, 188 ; 
his hostility to Vansittart, 
189 ; supports appointment 
of Warren Hastings as 
Governor of Bengal, 190 ; 
his letter to Hastings, 190- 
195 ; confers on Indian affairs 
with Lord North and Lord 



Rochfonl, in - , 19S ; attacked 
in the Press, 199 ; and in 
House of Commons by Sulli- 
van, 1995 defends himself in 
an able speech, 199 - 203 5 
and Appendix I., 231-286 ; 
denounces the Government, 
204 ; and the Court of Direc- 
tors and Court of Proprietors, 
205; cross-examined by a 
Select Committee as to events 
of 1757, 206; admits and 
justifies all he did, 207 ; in- 
vested with the Order of the 
Bath, and appointed Lord- 
Lieutenant both of Shropshire 
and of Montgomeryshire, 208 ; 
abstract resolutions aimed at 
him passed by the House, 208- 
209 ; resolution condemning 
him by name moved by Bur- 
goyne, 209 ; his second speech 
in defence, 210 - 212, and 
Appendix II., 287-296 ; re- 
solution moved byMrWedder- 
burn that • Robert Lord Clive 
did at the same time render 
great and meritorious services 
to his country' carried without 
a division, 212 ; heavy strain 
caused by the enquiry, 216 ; 
his physical sufferings, 217 ; 
his letters to Henry Strachey 
2185 his death by his own 
hand, 219, 220 ; remarkable 
points in his career, 221, 
222 5 his character, 224, 
225 ; his letter on Grenville's 
death, 227 j his weaknesses, 
227, 228 ; not refined either 
in manner or in appearance, 
229 5 his generosity and 
sense of gratitude, 229 ; his 
conduct in private life irre- 
proachable, 229 ; his views on 
public affairs clear and far- 
seeing, 230. 
Committee of Secrecy, object of 
and results, 214. 

Conflans, Marquis de, commanded 
the French garrison at Masuli- 
patam, 104, 105. 

Coote, Eyre, landed at Fort 
William in command of the 
King's troops, 51 ; appointed 
by Watson to be Governor of 
Fort William, and superseded 
by Clive on the following day, 
53 ; votes at the Council of 
War for an immediate attack 
upon the Nawab, jj 5 
despatched by Clive in pur- 
suit of Law, 89 ; defeats 
Lally at Wandiwash, 114. 

Corah, restored to the Emperor 
by the Nawab Vazir, 153. 

Cornwallis, Marquis of, views of 
regarding official salaries, 

Court of Directors of the East India 
Company, reception of Clive 
by, on his first return from 
India, 40 ; their treatment of 
Clive after Plassey, 96 et seq. ; 
Clive's unfavourable opinion 
of, 114 5 their comments on 
the misgovernment of Bengal 
under Vansittart, 139 et seq.-^ 
their inability to realise their 
responsibilities as governors 
of a great empire, 162 et 
seq. ; their resolution to bring 
to trial the Members of 
Council who had been sus- 
pended by Clive overruled by 
the Court of Proprietors, 183 ; 
condemned by Clive in his 
speech before the House of 
Commons, 205. 

Court of Proprietors, denounced 
by Clive in his speech before 
the House of Commons, 205. 

Covelong, captured by Clive, 36- 


Dalhousie, Marquis of, ignorant 

3 io 


clamour raised against him, 


D'Auteuil, the French General, 
who commanded at the battle 
of Ambur, 20 ; supersedes 
Law before Trichinopoly, 
and ends by surrendering to 
Lawrence, 34. 

De Bussy, served as second in 
command at Ambur, 20 ; 
was the ablest of the French 
generals, 20 ; commanded 
French troops in the Dekhan, 
62 ; distinguished by his de- 
fence of a post at Charmahal, 
62 ; recalled by Lally from 
the Dekhan, 102. 

Decorations, remarks upon, iii- 

Dekhan, the, Subahdars of, the 
real overlords of the greater 
part of Southern India, 19. 

Devikota, Clive employed in the 
expeditions against, 13 5 ces- 
sion of the fort to the East 
India Company under some- 
what discreditable circum- 
stances, 15 ; Stringer Law- 
rence's remarks on Clive's 
conduct at, 16. 

Diwani, transferred to the East 
India Company at the 
instance of Clive, 150 et 

Drake, Governor of Fort William, 
escapes from the Black Hole 
outrage by taking refuge on 
board ship, 48 ; gives an 
unintelligible opinion regard- 
ing the attack upon Chander- 
nagore, 63. 
Ducarrel, Miss, present in Clive's 
house on the occasion of his 
death, 219, 220. 
Dupleix, Governor of Pondicherry, 
6 ; the first European to re- 
cruit natives of India for 
military employment, 6 ; in 
1746 sent Admiral Labour- 

donnais to attack Madras, 
6 ; disallowed Labourdonnais' 
agreement with the Governor 
of Madras, 6 ; removed the 
Governor of Madras and 
principal officials to Pondi- 
cherry as prisoners of war, 6 ; 
conflict between English and 
French in Carnatic brought 
about by his ambition, 18 $ 
received valuable help from 
his wife, a French Creole, 18 ; 
furnished a contingent of 400 
Frenchmen at the battle of 
Ambur, 20 5 received from 
Mirzapha Jung the sovereignty 
of eighty-one villages, 20 ; 
disgusted with Law's inac- 
tivity, superseded him by ap- 
pointing d'Auteuil, 34 ; re- 
called in 1754 and succeeded 
by Godehieu, 43. 

Dupree, M., a French General 
whom Clive described as 
having been bribed by the 
English, 290. 

Dutch, the war with, 107 et seq. 


Ellis, Mr, a Member of Council 
and head of the factory at 
Patna, 134 ; killed in the 
massacre at that place, 136. 

Elphinstone, Honourable Mount- 
stuart, his estimate of Clive, 
225-6 ; and Appendix III., 


Fletcher, Sir Robert, misconduct 
of in connection with the 
mutiny of the officers, 169 ; 
dismissed by court-martial, 
170 ; reinstated, 171 ; subse- 



qoent misconduct as Com- 
mander-in-Chief at Madras, 
Forde, Colonel, an officer of the 
39th Foot, 103 ; gains an 
important victory at Kondur 
and captures Masulipatam, 
105 et seq.; commands force 
against the Dutch and beats 
them, 10S et «y.; Clive's 
characteristic letter to him, 
no ; his services not recog- 
nised by the Court of Direc- 
tors, in ; perishes at sea in 
the Aurora frigate in 1769, 

Fox, Charles James, his India Bill 

owed its origin to Clive's letter 

to the elder Pitt, 128. 
Fuller, Rose, Mr, seconder of Mr 

Stanley's amendment in 

favour of Clive, 212. 

Gaskell, Nathaniel, father of 

Robert Clive's mother, 1. 
General Courts, subversive of the 
authority of the Court of 
Directors, 206, 285. 
George III., Accession of, shortly 
before Clive reached England 
in 1760, 124; invests Clive 
with Order of the Bath in 
I77 2 > 208 ; appoints him 
Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire 
and Montgomeryshire, 208. 
Ghenah, a fort on the western 
coast possessed by Tulaji 
Angria, a Mahratta pirate, 
captured by Clive and Watson, 
Gheriah, scene of a battle fought 
by^ Major Adams against 
Kasim Ali Khan, 135-6. 
Grenville, George, friend and sup- 
porter of Clive, 129, 188. 


Hallidav, Sir Frederick, grand- 
son of Miss Ducarrel, his 
version of the story of Clive's 
death, 220. 
Hastings, Warren, one of the only 
two civil servants of mark in 
Bengal, 94 5 his claims pressed 
upon Clive by Sykes in 1768, 
when he was appointed second 
in Council at Madras, 190 ; 
appointed Governor of Bengal 
in 1 77 1, 190; Clive's letter 
to him, 190-195 ; Clive's 
estimate of him as deficient 
in resolution mistaken, 195, 
196 ; cause of his difficulties 
as Governor of Bengal, 214 ; 
his impeachment a blot upon 
English history, 230. 
Hemel Hempstead, Clive at a 

private school there, 3. 
Holwell, John Zephaniah, one of 
the sufferers in the Black 
Hole Outrage, 48 ; Acting 
Governor of Bengal, 48 et 
seq.i his India Tracts, 49 
(footnote); released at the 
instance of the widow of 
Aliverdi Khan, 49 ; tem- 
porary Governor on Clive's 
departure in 1760, 114; a 
signatory to Clive's letter 
denouncing the Court of 
Directors' style of corre- 
spondence, 123 5 dismissed by 
the Court, 123 ; his dislike 
to Mir Jafar, 132. 
Hughli Town, a factory established 
at, in the 17th century, 465 
the Company's representatives 
driven thence in 1686, 46 ; 
captured by Clive and Wat- 
son, 56. 
Hughli River, reached by Clive 
and Watson with part of 
their force in the middle of 
December 1756, 50. 



Hyder, Ali, the struggle within 
Madras, 187. 

Ingham, Mr, a surgeon, who 
accompanied Clive on his last 
visit to Bengal, 263. 

Inland Trade, abuses connected 
with, 133 ; brought on war 
with Kasim Ali Khan, 134. 

Jaggat Seth, a wealthy banker, 
supposed to have suggested 
the plot against Suraj ud 
Daulah, 68 ; murdered by 
order of Kasim Ali Khan, 
t 136. 

Jagir granted to Clive by Mir 
Jafar, 100 5 temporarily re- 
sumed by the Court of 
Directors, 130 5 confirmed 
for ten years, 142 5 Clive's 
tenure of it further extended 
after his final return from 
India, 181. 

James, Lord Justice, describes in 
his book, The British in India, 
the rampant misrule which 
prevailed under Vansittart's 
Government, 141. 

Johnston, Governor, a violent 
opponent of Clive in the 
Select Committee of the 
House of Commons, 205. 

Johnston, Mr, a member of 
Council, suspended from the 
service by Clive, 149 ; a 
member of the Select Com- 
mittee of the House of Com- 
mons, 302. 


Kasim Ali Khan, appointed 
Nawab of Bengal in super- 
session of his father-in-law, 
Mir Jafar, 132; pays 
£200,000 to members of 
the Select Committee, 132; 
cedes to the English the 
districts of Burdwan, Midna- 
pur and Chittagong, 1325 
remonstrates against the 
system of inland transit 
duties enforced by the 
Council, 133 ; agrees with 
Vansittart to a compromise, 
which the Council decline to 
ratify, 134; establishes free 
trade in Bengal ; the Council 
declares war against him, 135; 
defeated in the battles of 
Katwa, Gheriah and Andhwa 
Nala, 135, 136 ; massacres 
European prisoners at Patna 
and flies into Oudh, 136 ; 
thence, after battle of Buxar, 
to Rohilkhand, 137. 

Kaveri, a river in the south of 
India, 33. 

Kaveripak, a village near which an 
important battle was fought 
by Clive by moonlight, 29. 

Keene, Henry George, author of a 
poem entitled Clive's Dream 
before Plassey, 222. 

Kilpatrick, Major, sent to Clive's 
aid with reinforcements, 525 
votes with Clive in favour of 
attack upon Chandernagore, 

Kondur, battle fought at, 104. 

Labourdonnais, the French admi- 
ral who besieged and took 
Madras in 1746, 6. 

Lally Tollendal, Governor of 



Pondicherry in 1758, captured 
Fort St David, 113; besieged 
Madras in 1759, but raised 
siege in about two months, 
113 ; defeated by Eyre Coote 
at Wandiwash in 1760, 114. 

Lawrence, Stringer, Clive attracted 
his notice, 10 ; his opinion of 
Clive at Devikota, 15; ap- 
pointed to command expedi- 
tion to Trichinopoly ; placed 
Clive in command of a de- 
tachment sent to Jamiavaram, 
32 ; received a sword of 
honour from the Court of 
Directors at the same time 
with Clive, 40 ; presented by 
Clive with an annuity 'of 
£500, 229. 

Law, M., commands the French 
in operations before Trichi- 
nopoly, but eventually sur- 
renders to Lawrence, having 
been previously superseded by 
D'Auteuil, 32 et seq. ; serves 
at Chandernagore during the 
siege, 63 ; joins the Nawab 
at Murshidabad, but is sent 
away before Plassey and es- 
capes into Oudh, 89. 

Lostock, a place in Cheshire where 
Robert Clive began his school 
life, 2 ; its master predicted 
that if opportunity enabled 
him 'to exert his talents, 
few names would be greater 
than his,' 2. 

Lushington, Mr, supposed to have 
written Watson's signature to 
the sham treaty with Omi- 
chand by Watson's order, 
according to Clive, 72. 


Macaulay, Thomas Babington, 
remarks of, regarding the 
misgovernment of Bengal 

under Vansittart, 138-9 5 his 
favourable opinion of Clive, 

Madagascar, Clive predicted con- 
quest of by the French, 230, 
274, 275. 

Madias, Robert Clive's arrival at, 
4 5 Clive allowed to use the 
Governor's library in, 4 ; sur- 
render of, to the French, on 
10th September 1746, 6 5 
Clive's escape from, 7 ; re- 
stored to the English in 1748, 
1 1 ; Clive started from for 
Arcot on 26th August 175 1, 
22 5 reinforcement from, 
reached Clive at Arcot on 1 5th 
November, 25 ; Clive married 
at, on 1 8th February 1753, 
37 ; expedition sailed from, 
to avenge the Black Hole 
Outrage in October 1756, 49; 
authorities of, urged Clive to 
take back his force, 65 ; cir- 
cumstances which delayed 
Clive's return to, 66, 67, 98; 
besieged by Lally, 113; Clive 
heard there of the death of 
Mir Jafar, 146 5 Warren 
Hastings appointed second in 
Council at, 190. 

Mahrattas, rulers of the princi- 
palities of Tanjore, Madura, 
and Mysore, 12 ; rule at 
Sattara, 19 5 in possession of 
Delhi, 160 5 threatened in- 
vasion of Bengal, 170. 

Malcolm, Sir John, his opinion 
regarding Clive's duels, 9 5 
his opinion of Vansittart's 
weak rule, 141. 

Malleson, Colonel, opinion of, as 
to the alleged threat by Omi- 
chand, 70 ; his statement of 
the question put to the Coun- 
cil of War before Plassey, 

Market Drayton, in Shropshire, 
where Robert Clive attended 



his second school and climbed 
the church steeple, 3. 

Maskelyne, Edmund, Clive's com- 
panion in his escape from 
Madras, 7 j brother of Lady 
Clive, 37. 

Maskelyne, Margaret. See Lady 

Maskelyne, Nevil, another brother 
of Lady Clive, Astronomer 
Royal, 39. 

Masulipatam, captured by Colonel 
Forde in 1758, 104, 105 ; im- 
portance of the capture, 106. 
itius and Bour 
settlements, 274. 

Mayapur, Clive's force disembarked 
at, 50-1. 

Merchant Taylors' School, Robert 
Clive sent there at the age of 
twelve, 3. 

Midnapore, a district ceded at the 
same time as Burdwan, 132. 

Mill, James, adverse opinion of 
regarding Clive's duels, 9; 
condemns the Parliamentary 
proceedings against Clive, 2 1 5- 

Minchin, Captain, deserts his pest 
before the Black Hole outrage 
and takes refuge on board ship, 

, 48. 

Miran, son of Mir Jafar, orders 
Suraj ud Daulah to be mur- 
dered, 86 ; an attack by him 
upon the Dutch averted by 
Clive, no ; he dies before his 
father, 132. 

Mir Jafar, commander-in-chief of 
the Nawab's army, 69 ; joins 
the plot against the Nawab 
and makes overtures to Clive, 
69 ; his doubtful attitude 
before and at the battle of 
Plassey, 75 ct sec/.; received 
by Clive at Daudpur, 85; 
installed by Clive as Nawab 
on 29th June 1757, 87 ; 
helped by Clive against the 

Shahzada, 98 et seq. } confers 
Jagir upon Clive, 100 ; re- 
sents Clive's influence and 
stimulates the Dutch to 
attack Calcutta, 106 et seq.; 
HolwelPs dislike to him, 132; 
removed from the Nawabship, 
132; reinstated, 1365 his 
death on 25th February 1765, 
146 ; Clive's estimate of his 
friendship for him, 267. 

Mir Mudin, the only faithful 
general on Suraj ud Daulah's 
side at Plassey, killed early in 
the battle, 82. 

Mirzapha Jung, candidate for the 
Subahdari of the Dekhan, 195 
proclaims himself, after the 
battle of Ambur, Subahdar of 
the Dekhan and Chanda 
Sahib Nawab of the Car- 
natic, 20 ; confers upon 
Dupleix eighty-one villages 
adjoining French territory, 
20 ; is killed in a revolt of 
his Pathan soldiers, 21. 

Morari Rao, a freebooting Mah- 
ratta chief, who joined Clive 
shortly after the siege of 
Arcot was raised, 27 ; secretly 
supports Muhammad AH in 
refusing to give up Trichino- 
poly to the Raja of Mysore, 

Moreton Say, the birthplace of 

Robert Clive, in Shropshire, 

1 ; where he was also buried, 


Muhammad Ali, Nawab of the 
Carnatic, known as Nawab 
Wallajah, 20 5 besieged at 
Trichinopoly by Chanda 
Sahib, 20 ; more than once 
reduced to despair, 315 his 
refusal to perform a promise 
to the Raja of Mysore, 35. 

Muhammad Riza Khan, Minister 
of the Nawab Nazim ud 
Daulah, 150. 



Monro, Sir Hector, won a decisive 
victory at Buxar with troops 
recently in a state of mutiny, 


Murshidabad, native capital of 
Bengal, Suraj ud Daulah re- 
turned there in the night 
after Plassey, and was mur- 
dered there by order of Miran, 
86, ■ Clive entered on 29th 
June, 87 5 seat of Govern- 
ment removed from to Mun- 
gir by Kasim Ali Khan, 134. 

Muxadavad, one of the names of 
Murshidabad, 268, footnote. 


Nazim ud Daulah, succeeded Mir 
Jafar in 1765 as Nawab of 
Bengal, 146 ; his character, 

Nazir Jung, grandson of Nizam ul 
Mulk, contests the claim of 
Mirzapha Jung at the battle 
of Ambur, 19 ; is murdered 
by one of his tributaries, 21. 

Newcastle, Duke of, Clive's letter 
to, 57-60. 

Nizam ul Mulk, Subahdar of the 
Dekhan, death of, 19. 

North, Lord, Prime Minister in 
1772, 1 97; confers with Clive, 
197 ; supports the attack on 
Clive in the House of Com- 
mons, 209 ; passes the Regu- 
lating Act of 1773, 214. 

Omichand, a wealthy Hindu, in 
whose garden the battle of 
5th February 1757 was fought, 
69 ; his alleged threat to 
divulge the plot against Suraj 
ud Daulah, 69 et seq. ; the red 
and white treaties, 71 ; reve- 

lation of the trick to, 88 ; the 
fraud upon, indefensible, 223. 
Oudh, Nawab Vazir of. See Sujah 
ud Daulah. 

Patna, threatened by the Shah- 
zada, 99 5 capture of, by Ellis, 
134; recapture, 134; mass- 
acre of Europeans at, 136. 

Pigot, Lord, accompanied Clive to 
Verdachalam, when they had 
to ride for their lives, 16 ; 
when Governor of Madras in 
1775 was imprisoned by the 
members of his Council, 171. 

Pitt, William, the elder, Clive's 
letter to him, 1 14-120 5 
unable as Earl of Chatham, 
owing to ill-health, to help 
Clive, 178 ; his favourable 
opinion of Clive's first speech 
before the Select Committee 
of the House of Commons, 

Pitt, William, the younger, his 
India Bill owed its origin to 
Clive's letter to the elder Pitt, 

Plassey, battle of, 75 et seq. 

Pocock, Admiral, second in com- 
mand to Admiral Watson, 45 ; 
arrives in the river Baleshwar 
with a detachment of the 39th 
Foot, 63 ; a statue put up to 
him in the East India House, 

Pondicherry, unsuccessful siege of, 
9 ; capital of French posses- 
sions in India, 61. 


Raja Dulab RAM,onc of the parties 
of the plot against Suraj ud 
Daulah, 68 5 appointed joint 

3 i6 


minister to Nazim ud Daulah, 

,., x 5°«. 

Raja Sahib, son of Chanda Sahib, 
besieges Clive at Arcot, 24 et 
seq.; is beaten by Clive near 
Ami, 28 ; and again at 
Kaveripak, 29. 

Regulating Act, passed in 1773, 
merits and defects of, 214. 

Rio de Janeiro, Clive detained 
there for nine months on his 
first voyage to India, 4. 

Rochford, Lord, Secretary of State, 
in 1772, confers with Clive, 

Roman Senate, Mountstuart 
Elphinstone describes the 
divisions of the House of 
Commons on Clive's case as 
* worthy the best days of the 
Roman Senate,' 302. 

St Frais, M., commands a French 
detachment at Plassey, 78. 

St Michael's, Clive elected member 
for, but unseated on petition, 

, i l : 

Salabatjung, Subahdar of the 
Dekhan, in alliance with the 
French in 1758,104^^.,- 
seven years later formally 
cedes the Northern Sirkars 
to the English, 106. 

Salt trade, society established to 
conduct, 164 ; disallowed by 
the Court of Directors, 164. 

Samiavaram, Clive advises occupa- 
tion of, 33. 

Sandwich, Lord, supports Clive 
in his candidature for St 
Michael's, 41. 

Saunders, Mr,Governor of Madras, 
authorises Clive's expedition 
against Arcot, 17. 

Scrafton, Mr, undeceives Omi- 
chand about the sham treaty, 

88 ; endeavours to move 
Clive's suspicions regarding 
various directors, 182 ; ap- 
pointed one of the Commis- 
sioners to reform Indian ad- 
ministration, but perishes at 
sea in the frigate Aurora be- 
tween the Cape and Calcutta, 
Select Committee of the House of 
Commons, appointment of, 
moved for by Colonel Bur- 
goyne, and carried, 206 ; its 
composition, 206 ; its object, 


Shah Alam, Emperor of Delhi. See 

Shahzada, the, threatens invasion 
of Bengal, 67 ; besieges Patna, 
but retires on the advance of 
Clive, from whom he receives 
help in money, 99 ; as Emperor 
Shah Alam invades Bengal in 
concert with the Nawab Vazir 
and Kasim Ali Khan, but 
after Buxar repairs to the 
English camp, 137 ; confers 
the Diwani upon the Com- 
pany, 154; fails to induce 
Clive to help him to recover 
Delhi, 160. 

Shrewsbury, Clive elected member 
for, 129. 

Shrirangham, an island situated be- 
tween two branches of the 
river Kaveri, 33. 

Siyar-ul-Mutakharin, the author 
of, appeals to God against the 
misgovernment and oppression 
of the English, 141. 

Smith, Colonel Richard, one of the 
brigadiers who supported Clive 
in the military mutiny in 1 766, 
169 ct seq.; succeeded Clive 
in command of Bengal army, 
185 ; Clive's opinion of, 186. 

Speeches, Clive's speeches before 
the Select Committee, 231 et 
seq., 287 et seq. 



Stanley, Mr, amendment moved 
by, to General Burgoync's 
motion hostile to Clive, 212. 

Strachey, Henry, Clive's secretary, 
21 8 ; Clive's letters to him, 
218 ; present at Clive's death, 
220 ; recommended to Clive 
by George Grenville, 263. 

Styche, Clive's birthplace, I. 

Sujah ud Daulah, Nawab Vazir of 
Oudh, invades Bengal in con- 
cert with Kasim Ali Khan 
and Shah Alam, but is de- 
feated at Buxar by Sir Hector 
Munro, 137 ; his treaty with 
Clive, 153. 

Sullivan, Lawrence, hostility of, to 
Clive, 127 ; opposes reap- 
pointment of Clive as 
Governor of Bengal, 142 et 
seq. ,• attacks Clive in the 
House of Commons, 198 et 

Sumner, Mr, a member of the 
Bengal Council, dismissed for 
having signed the letter re- 
monstrating with the Court 
of Directors on the style of 
their correspondence, 123. 

Suraj ud Daulah, Nawab of Bengal, 
his character, 47 5 the Black 
Hole outrage, 48 ; his attack 
upon Calcutta, 57 et seq.; his 
treaty with Clive and Watson, 
60 ; treacherous as he was 
cruel, 66 ; distrust of him 
felt by the leading natives 
of Bengal as well as by all 
the English, 67 ; a plot to 
dethrone him, 68 et seq. ; he 
meets Clive at Plassey, 78 et 
seq. ; his only faithful general 
mortally wounded early in 
the battle, 84 ; he flies to 
Murshidabad and thence to 
Rajmahal, 85, 86 ; is handed 
over to Mir Jafar, and mur- 
dered by order of Mir Jafar's 
son Miran, 86-87. 

Sykes, Mr, a member of the Select 
Committee sent out with 
Clive in 1764, 190; urged 
the claims of Warren Hast- 
ings, 190. 

Thuri.ow, Lord, Attorney-General, 
supports the attack upon Clive, 

Timari, Fort at, taken by Clive, 


Vansittart, Henry, appointed, on 
Clive's recommendation, to 
succeed him as Governor of 
Bengal, 131 5 removes Mir 
Jafar from the Nawabship, 
132; his agreement with 
Kasim Ali Khan disallowed 
by the Council, 134 ; the 
weakness of his government 
described by Sir John Mal- 
colm and by Lord Justice 
James, 141 ; appointed mem- 
ber of Commission of Super- 
vision, and perishes at sea, 
188, 189. 

Verelst, Mr, succeeds Clive as 
Governor of Bengal, 172 ; his 
qualifications, 1875 Clive's 
opinion of him, 279. 


Wandiwash, battle of, 114. 

Watts, agent at Murshidabad in 
1757, 66 ; joins Clive at 
Kalna, 75 5 over-estimated 
the wealth of Suraj ud Daulah, 
87; rendered valuable services 
to Clive before Plassey, 131. 

Watson, Admiral, associated with 
Clive in attack upon Gheriah 

3 i8 


and Suvarndrug, 44-45 5 his 
attitude regarding prize money, 
45 5 appointed to command 
the squadron in which Clive's 
expedition to avenge the Black 
Hole outrage was sent to Cal- 
cutta, 49 et sec/.; his perverse 
obstinacy, 50 et seq. ; his 
attempt to supersede Clive in 
command of Fort William, 
53 ; his subsequent co-opera- 
tion with Clive fairly cordial, 
55 ; takes part in the capture 
of Hughli, 56 5 associated 
with Clive in the treaty with 
the Nawab, 61 ; opposed to 
signing treaty with Governor 
of Chandernagore, 61 5 Clive's 
high opinion of the conduct 
of his fleet, 64 ; his refusal to 

sign the fictitious treaty with 
Omichand, his letter to Clive 
before Plassey, 71, 72 ; his 
death, 94 ; Clive's recognition 
of his worth, 94. 

Wedderburn, Solicitor - General, 
defends Clive, 2125 carries a 
resolution that * Robert Lord 
Clive did at the same time 
render great and meritorious 
services to his country,' 212. 

Y/ellesley, Marquis of, his treat- 
ment by the Directors of the 
East India Company, 230. 

Wilson, Horace Hayman,the com- 
mentator on Mill's History of 
India, 70. 

Wilson, Colonel W. J., historian 
of the Madras army, 104 


Colston &r> Coy. Limited, Printers, Edinburgh. 

University of Toronto 








Acme Library Card Pocket 

Under Pat. "Ref. Index File"